A Service Dog named Eagle

Service Dog Speeds Toward Recovery After Surgery Thanks to Generosity of Donors Including Tony Stewart
By Sarah Carey

A service dog named Eagle, whose unusual orthopedic problem threatened his ability to help his disabled owner, is speeding toward recovery after successful surgery Tuesday (June 20) partly funded by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.The Tony Stewart Foundation supplemented efforts already under way by the Orange City-based animal assistance group H.E.L.P. Animals Inc. to fund the cost of Eagle’s operation – performed at the University of Florida Veterinary Medical Center – and the travel expenses of a visiting veterinary surgeon from Missouri.

The 3-year-old golden retriever is owned by Michael Ray, of Deltona, who was paralyzed in a road-rage incident when he was 27 years old. Ray said the dog was a godsend, moving in with him more than three years ago, a few years after his wife died of cancer.

“I am in a wheelchair and I’d never had a service dog,” said Ray. “I knew my shoulders were going bad, as I’d been pushing a chair since 1978. I decided a service dog might be right up my alley.”

Now it was Eagle who needed Ray’s help.