While on break I toured the new $15 Million Holland Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio TX.
Lackland has the largest of two training centers in the country for military and service dogs, with some 800 trainees at any given time and the hospital's charter is caring for them. Colonel Vogelsang, a vet surgeon who runs it, was kind enough to spend a couple of hours showing me around.
I've been fortunate in visiting many veterinary facilities while on the road and Holland is truly impressive. It boasts $3 Million in state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and their protocols are equally advanced. All female trainees being spayed receive prophylactic gastroplexy which essentially removes the risk of bloat.
Providing the best care for dogs seemed to be factored into every aspect in the design of the hospital and it should serve as a model for the entire animal community.
Following the tour, Colonel Vogelsang gave me a Challenge Coin from the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp. I'd never heard of these before but he said they're given in recognition of service and he wanted us to have it in honor of our mission for the betterment of dogs.
It was totally unexpected and I was so surprised I almost got teary eyed - how embarassing that'd been, me getting all weepy in front of a soldier. But it's a tremendous honor and this coin will travel with us all the way to Boston.