Team Dyngo: Ret. War Dog's Medical Expenses

UPDATE: Dec. 7, 2018

Dear Team Dyngo Supporters,

As of today, we’ve raised more than $10K!  Thanks to your incredible generosity, it took only one week for us to reach this amount!  We are overwhelmed.

Dyngo’s second surgery went well and cost less than estimated.  With fingers crossed, the frequency of his medical-care needs should steadily slow during his recovery over the next two-to-three weeks.  His new total care cost is likely to be closer to $15K.  We have reduced his campaign goal to reflect this.  Any donations not used for Dyngo’s care will go to other retired Military Working Dogs in need. (We will be researching the best way to do that.)

We will continue to post regular updates on Dyngo’s progress. His spirit remains strong and happy!

For now, we cannot adequately express how grateful we are for this outpouring of generosity on Dyngo’s behalf, as well as the kindness and support you all have shared.

With infinite thanks,
Justin and Rebecca


Team Dyngo needs your help!

Last Friday night, Nov. 23, retired Military Working Dog Dyngo  was rushed to the emergency animal hospital. He was lethargic and couldn't walk, laying on the floor whimpering.

After tests, the doctor discovered he had a large, infected abscess in his right leg above his elbow joint. It was relatively good news, the infection would resolve with antibiotics and the abscess could be removed. They scheduled the earliest apt with the surgical team for the following week (Wednesday, 28 November), and Dyngo was sent home. The following day, his leg was swollen three times its normal size, the abscess opened and he was rushed back to the hospital for emergency surgery.

The first surgery went well and he was sent home Sunday evening. But his wound care is difficult to manage, requiring lots of sedated tie over bandage changes. Dyngo and his owner, Rebecca Frankel, have spent the past week in and out of the hospital every day, sometimes staying over night.

I served with Dyngo, a bomb-sniffing dog in Afghanistan in 2011 where his powerful nose rooted out over 300lbs of IEDS and saved thousands of lives. (You can read about our combat tour below.

Dyngo's contributions to the war on terror do not come without sacrifice.  Just like any war veteran, Dyngo's body took a beating over the years and now at the age of nearly thirteen he is feeling the effects of war.

When Rebecca called us on Friday, my wife and I rushed  to Washington, DC. If it was time to say good-bye, we wanted to be there.   After a red eye flight from Las Vegas, we arrived at Rebecca's place around 10am Saturday. Dyngo was in rough shape, laying helpless on the floor.  He was not able to walk or even stand at this point. I had to carry him in and out of the house in order for him to use the bathroom.  Through all of this, I realized the strength Dyngo still has and I know with the right care that he will make it through this.

Rebecca made the decision early on that if Dyngo can heal and return to his happy, healthy self without diminishing his quality of life, she would do whatever it takes to give him the best shot he has. Despite a rough week, Dyngo is in good spirits, sweet-tempered and loving. He's showing no signs of giving up! (Rebecca is sending regular updates, which you can read at the bottom of the page, scroll all the way.)

But his medical care requires  daily bandage changes and costly surgeries, as well as a lot of home care and walk challenges ahead.  So far this week Dyngo has had six hospital visits, two over night stays, six bandage changes, and one surgery. In the next week he is scheduled for his second surgery, this time to close the wound so he can fully recover. His bills are going to total upwards of $15K, not including the aftercare he may need. Every little bit will help Dyngo—whether it’s small or large donations here, or helping to spread the word.

It is important we come together to give Dyngo the best healthcare possible.  As a war dog, combat veteran, and most importantly, my hero, we need to do this for him—not us! Just like any other combat veteran whose body has been beaten up hard by his service, Dyngo deserves every single life-saving measure (that maintains his quality of life) that can be afforded to him.

While we were in DC, Melissa and I got to see first hand the love and dedication that Rebecca has for Dyngo. Anytime she left the room, even if it was for a second, he lifted his head and searched for her with his eyes.  After each of his hospital visits she slept on the floor next to Dyngo to keep him calm.  While at the veterinarian's office she fought for the best course of action for Dyngo. She has given Dyngo the retirement life any MWD would want, but we also got to see just how difficult these next few weeks are going to be for Rebecca and Dyngo.

For now, we're taking things one day at a time, pushing for the best possible results. We'll be updating this page on his progress! 

Thank you for looking at our campaign to raise money for retired Military Working dog Dyngo’s medical expenses!

(One of the many emergency vet visits over the past week.)


(Melissa, Rebecca, and Justin extremely exhausted but keeping each other smiling while waiting for Dyngo to come out of surgery.)

Dyngo the War Dog:

All dogs are special, but Dyngo is truly unique. In 2011, while serving with him in Afghanistan, he uncovered two IEDs during a Taliban ambush; if he hadn’t found those bombs the gunfire would’ve driven us right into the path of those bombs.

He saved my life that day, and the lives of everyone else in our unit from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. When we returned stateside in April, 2012, we were awarded the bronze star for our 63 missions and the estimated 30k lives protected during that tour.  My wife says, if it hadn't been for Dyngo she may not have had her husband return from my deployment. This is why we call him our hero!

Dyngo retired from the Air Force in May of 2016 from the kennels at Luke AFB in Phoenix, where he was stationed or nearly ten years. My wife and I weren’t able to adopt Dyngo because our older daughter is allergic, neither was his final handler, who was stationed overseas at the time. We asked Rebecca, who got to know Dyngo when she was reporting for her book War Dogs: Tales of Canine History, Heroism, and Love, if she would take him. She said yes!

In May, she flew to Phoenix and brought Dyngo to her home in Washington, D.C. where she has cared for and loved him for the past 2.5 years.

He's living a happy life and we hope he'll recover soon and get back to enjoying his much-deserved retirement!

(Dyngo with his favorite toys... before happily destroying them.)

(Dyngo having a happy summer trip, roaming off leash in the country.)


UPDATE: Saturday afternoon, Dec. 1.

Rebecca says:

“After spending the night at Friendship Animal Hospital on Thursday, I got Dyngo home with the help of new friend, Bryan and, my oldest friend, Michal, who is visiting for the weekend from Florida. The sedation drugs take a long time to wear off and they leave Dyngo wobbly and disoriented.

We had a great night though, Dyngo slept comfortably. The red kong went to bed with him, as it has this past week…

Unfortunately, the snazzy neon-lime bandage only held for 24hrs and we are back in the hospital in urgent care waiting for another sedated bandage change. (Sarah and Sam were the hero-helpers of the day, assisting in this unscheduled trip getting me get Dyngo to the vet.) Hopefully we’ll be able to take him home tonight.

We’re really becoming regulars around here; the staff all know Dyngo (and his now signature red comfort kong) and everyone is super happy to see him... even if we'd rather be home.

Despite another stressful couple of days, at home, Dyngo is still his same silly self. Here’s a photo:


Thank you, everyone, for your heartfelt notes, calls, and for the extremely generous contributions to this fund. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support Dyngo and I are getting… Sending love, R”


UPDATE: Sunday morning, Dec. 2.

Rebecca says:

"Well, we made it back from the hospital late last night and Dyngo was unhappy coming off sedation but bounced back quickly to eat a big dinner. So far so good this morning, all is quiet for now—fingers crossed we get to enjoy our first day without a hospital trip! (Knock wood now, please.)

Here's a photo of Dyngo getting some much-needed rest.


More soon, hugs,


UPDATE: Monday evening, Dec. 3.

Rebecca says:

“Today was a good day.

Carrying Dyngo up and down the stairs is a challenge—the dog-lifting-aid mobility harness is making a HUGE difference—and it’s not a bad workout. (Today’s hero helpers were neighbors Lloyd, who drove us home from the hospital and did a Dyngo carry, and Jessica who helped with two bathroom breaks.)

Dyngo had another sedated bandage change today and it went very well. All the tissue around the wound is steadily improving. We should be on track for tomorrow’s surgery.

And, on that note, tomorrow is the most crucial day yet—this surgery will close the wound. Wish us luck! Your prayers and words of encouragement are making all the difference...

Thank you, everyone. The generosity that’s lighting up this page is truly amazing.

Here's a pic of Dyngo before bed, sporting a deep purple bandage, on our giant makeshift bed of pillows, blankets, towels, and yoga mats to keep him from slipping.

With love and thanks, g'night,


UPDATE: Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 4.

Rebecca says:

"Well, we're here: Surgery day.

Dyngo was walking strong this morning. He's getting used to the hospital routine and is happy to greet the warm and wonderful staff who have been taking care of him. I feel confident the dog we love is in steady, caring hands.

I'll update you as soon as I hear how the surgery went...

Here we are: signing consent forms and talking to the staff about the surgery.

With love and gratitude,

UPDATE: Wednesday morning, Dec. 5.

Rebecca says:

“Dyngo’s surgery went great!! His surgeon said she was very, very pleased with the wound closure and the operation went smoothly. Coming out of the anesthesia is always difficult for Dyngo, but he’s being a trooper.

He had to spend the night at the hospital so the doctors could monitor him. The vet tech I spoke with last night before I went to bed said Dyngo was whimpering a little bit, but he had a big appetite and was otherwise resting calmly in his crate.

I’ll be hearing from the doctors this afternoon with an update after they get through today’s bandage change—the first after surgery so it’s an important one.

Here’s a pic of Dyngo from yesterday morning. I love his expression—I’ve started to refer to it as: pre-surgery game face.


More soon, many thanks,

UPDATE: Thursday morning, Dec. 6.

Rebecca says:

“And… Dyngo is home!

He is doing so well with the new bandage that now has a splint. There was a fear that it would further reduce his mobility, but actually the added stiffness seems to offer more support rather than hinder his movement. We actually had to slow him down!

But Dyngo’s movement does have to be restricted over the next few weeks while he heals, so we’ve moved into a smaller room. It's outfitted the floor with padding—a very seasonal baby play mat!—yoga mats galore, and a bed that won’t catch on his leg.

Speaking of which—check out the new bandage! The surgical team wanted to send him home with something special so they gave Dyngo a “Star-Spangled Banner”-themed bandage. Needless to say, they all love him.

He’s having a morning nap as I write…

More soon and many thanks to all!

UPDATE: Sunday evening, Dec. 9

Rebecca says:

“Well, looks like we're going to make it through the weekend without any trips to the hospital! This is the first weekend since Thanksgiving we’ve been able to lay low at home. There were a lot of naps… for both of us.

On Friday, Dyngo’s doctors decided that he was getting a little too much mobility out of his new bandage and he had to undergo two sedated changes and now has an even sturdier cast—the splint goes up much higher now to his shoulder.

But as ever a tank of determination, Dyngo isn’t letting it slow him down; he just plows ahead over the trail of yoga mats now leading to our front door, over to the elevators, and down the hall to the back door of our building. We still need coordinated assistance getting down and back up a few steps outside, but experience with the harness continues to make that process easier and easier. (Many thanks to friends Sam, Erica, Ty, and Lloyd for their help with this weekend.)

But something remarkable happened this weekend. On Saturday evening, this page reach its goal of $15k—in only eight day's time. As I wrote to family and friends after hearing the news from Justin:

Saying thank you feels inadequate, but it's the only place to begin... Thank you, everyone, for your support and love, for your shares and tweets.. and for helping Dyngo, who truly deserves as many happy years on this earth as we can give him.

So again, thank you, everyone, here for taking care of Dyngo. And here he is, our brave, happy boy, content at home:

With gratitude and love,

Donations (0)

  • Douglas Reynolds 
    • $20 
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    • $30 
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  • Sue Van Grack 
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Justin Kitts 
North Las Vegas, NV
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