TAMPA — Two American war heroes, brought together by fate, have been there for one another for the past seven years. Now one of them is fighting for her life and looking to the community for help.
Tim Read and his dog Shadow both served in Afghanistan for the U.S. Marine Corps. back in 2010. However, they didn’t cross paths until five years later.
“Stepped on an IED, all I could hear is the ringing and dust falling down to the ground,” said Read thinking back to the day his life changed forever. “My marines were like, ‘don’t close your eyes, do not fall asleep,’ and I was just thinking, ‘I was going to go to sleep,’ but that was actually just death knocking on the door.’”
The Purple Heart recipient was severely injured resulting in the amputation of his left leg. He wound up in San Diego, where he experienced the darkest period of his life.
“I turned to drugs and alcohol and it really messed up my mind,” said Read.
Little did Tim know, Shadow, who served as a bomb-sniffing dog, was also in San Diego, being kept in a military kennel after her handler had passed away. It was about to become the perfect match.
“They let her out of the cage about 100 yards away and she just went straight to me and she was just happy to see me, she knows marines and how we carry ourselves,” said Read.
Tim and Shadow both retired and moved to Tampa in 2015. They’ve been playing in the backyard together ever since.
“The greatest gift of all is our bond, our combat bond that shadow and I have, I guess it’s unspoken in words,” said Read.
Now after years of protecting our troops, it's Tim’s turn to protect Shadow. She’s battling a number of undiagnosed health issues and the vet bills have piled up to over $5,000 and counting.
“There’s not much government funding for dogs that retire,” said Read. “It’s not cool to leave these dogs high and dry after what they’ve quietly sacrificed.”
So Tim and his wife set up a GoFundMe Account asking the community to help save this war hero’s life. They’ve already surpassed $3,000.
“I think we owe it to Shadow to have a good retirement where she can breath easy and love deep and just be a normal dog, so every little bit helps,” said Read.
For more information and to help Shadow go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/pay-for-a-retired-ied-dog-nasal-diagnostic.