Thunder, PTSD service dog in training, recovering after injury

The community in Brookside, outside of Truro, has rallied to pay for a service dog's medical expenses after he was injured in an accident.

Thunder's $2,500 medical bills nearly covered by online fundraiser

Dog trainer Stephanie Bagnell says she's overwhelmed by everyone's generosity towards Thunder's recovery. (CBC)

The community in Brookside, outside of Truro, has rallied to pay for a service dog's medical expenses after he was injured in an accident.

Thunder is training to become a companion for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But that was put in jeopardy after an accident on Nov. 27 landed him in hospital.

"It was a cold morning, slippery morning, so I brought him out first thing to use the washroom. I didn't want to be out in the rain so I started running back to the house and he missed a step and literally dove face-first into the deck," said dog trainer Stephanie Bagnell.   

The impact broke Thunder's jaw, requiring immediate surgery in Halifax — a costly expense for the non-profit training organization run by volunteers.

"I figured we wouldn't have the money to just pay for it right away so I started to think, what kind of funding could we do," said Bagnell.

So Bagnell set up a crowdfunding website to appeal to the community.

In just 24 hours, $2,000 dollars came in. Tuesday morning, the group was just $100 shy of the $2,500 goal to help pay for all of Thunder's medical expenses.

The money came from as far away as Germany.  

"I was so overwhelmed by everyone's generosity. I could not believe it, that people were coming together that quickly. It was amazing, I didn't think it would happen, I really didn't think so," said Bagnell.  

Once he's fully recovered and fully trained, Thunder will help to return the favour, becoming a companion of one of the veterans on a waiting list to receive a service dog.

"When he's paired with a veteran he's going to start right away saving this veteran's life," said Bagnell.