Emotional Support Animal Shields Man from Gunman in Shooting

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emotional support animal saves owner's lifeAn emotional support dog has died in a tragic incident, following a frightening attack by a gunman on the Interstate 980 east of Oakland.

Heroic ESA Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice

David Freitag, 66, was dog sitting the canine for the owner at the time. He was returning the brown-and-white Hound to its home in Walnut Creek, California when the incident took place.

Owner Nenita ‘Nakaya’ Kiser, who suffers from PTSD, adopted Layla two years ago from the Friends of the Alameda Animal shelter group to provide emotional support for her condition. The four-year-old canine was a vital source of comfort to Kiser. ‘I have PTSD and she’s my emotional service dog and I can’t be alone,’ she told ABC7.

Freitag, who was driving at the time of the shooting, says that Layla saved his life thanks to where she was sitting.

The Pharoah-Sheperd hound sat in her favorite position, on the center console. While Layla looked out the windscreen, shots suddenly rang out.

Freitag described the loyal dog as ‘standing next to me with the bullets entering from the side, she probably took them before they got to me.’

He further recounted the terrifying incident, saying:

‘Suddenly the windows are shattering and I felt this impact, and Layla just kind of pitched over’.

At least two bullets struck Layla, and she suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder. They rushed Layla to San Leandro veterinary hospital immediately.

Freitag also sustained injuries from the bullets. ‘Some bullet fractured in my neck here, in the back of the neck, in the front of the neck I’d be dead,’ he told ABC7.

emotional support dog layla

Image source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6203619/Emotional-support-dog-Layla-took-bullets-dog-sitter-dies-freeway-shooting.html

Freitag was immediately hospitalized for his injuries after police arrived at the scene. He should make a full recovery.

A Heartbreaking Decision

Layla was not so fortunate, and due to injuries sustained from her heroic act, her owner made the heartbreaking decision to euthanize on Sunday.

Freitag set up a GoFundMe page to assist with costs while Layla received medical care. A huge outpouring of support came from the community, with the page reaching $2,671 of its $5000 target so far.

“All of us are devastated and heartbroken by this news,” John Lipp, director of the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, wrote in a post on the GoFundMe page.

Freitag says that the raised funds will go toward covering Layla’s medical costs. Any remaining money will be donated to animal shelters.

At this time, California Highway Patrol has no suspects or motive, and little information about the crime.

“We’re putting all our efforts into finding those people responsible for this,” CHP Officer Herman Baza said.

It is also unclear to the CHP whether the shooter’s target was Freitag. Freitag does not know why he was singled out in the attack.

“I don’t know why they did this or who this was or what they think they were trying to accomplish,” he said. “But they’re twisted people,” he concluded.

Freitag credits Layla the emotional support dog, for saving his life.

So you see, having an ESA literally saves lives. But could it change yours?

See if you qualify today for an emotional support animal, and if so, we will put you in contact with an LMHP to get your ESA letter today.

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