Karl Hofle was medically discharged from the military this past January after serving nearly 20 years. He served in their air force and army and went on three deployments to the Middle East. But when he returned home, he was a changed man. He was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and suffered from PTSD. When standard medical treatment did not work, Karl found a life line with a service dog named Jake. The 10-month old Airedale Terrier turned things around for Jake.
Karl's wife Sharon told WMYF News that having Jake in their family helped save their marriage and their family. "It was like a new beginning," she said. "This dog really helped [Karl] cope. Jake brought the joy back in our lives. We really needed that."
But a short time ago they noticed Jake was having problems walking. He turned out to have severe hip dysplasia, and without surgery, he would have to be put down. The surgery would cost $10,000, which was unobtainable for the Hofles.
With Karl unemployed and searching for work, Sharon recovering from a stroke and their grand-daughter who they are raising possibly needing back surgery herself, they were looking at a tough and sad choice. An unbearable choice for Karl, who didn't want to see his puppy in pain. He told WMYF News "It would, it would kill me. It would," Karl said. "He's a puppy. He's helpless. I'm tired of pain. He's such an awesome dog. We love this dog."
Then something wonderful happened. After their story was televised on the news donations began to pour in from all over the US and Canada. And within one day the Holfe's fortunes had dramatically changed.
"Today has been a day like I have never experienced in my life," Sharon said. When she looked into their bank accounts they saw donations pouring in. Within a day nearly $40,000 had been deposited. It's more than enough to cover Jake's surgery, which the family has already scheduled for next week.
For Karl, the generosity of people he had never met moved him to tears. The outpouring of support wasn't only for Jake either. Karl, who has been looking for a job since the start of the year, also heard from two potential employers about work. With the money remaining, Karl said they may add it to the college fund for their daughter or maybe start a veteran's fund for other individuals that may be in the same situation as the them.