U.S. Army Service Dog Returns Home, But Why In Canada?
By Erik Rosales
KINGSBURG, Calif. (KMPH) — A U.S. Army service dog will soon be headed home back to Toronto, Canada.Poncho the pooch was traveling with one of his owners some two weeks through the valley.His owner named Michael, a decorated Army veteran from the Cold War was rushed to the Veterans hospital in Fresno after he got into a car accident with Poncho.Michael is still recovering from his injuriesBecause no one else was around to take Poncho home, police took him to the Kingsville city yard.Kingsburg Community Service Officers, Brenda Prado and Sandi Harbottle were determined to find family members of Michael.So they checked out Poncho's dog collar.Harnottle says "Poncho the dog had more hardware on him than most dogs. Not only did we know his name, but at one time we knew he was in Vancouver, and at some point he was in Sacramento County. So I began calling Canada and Sacramento and worked backwards.Ultimately, the ladies tracked down Michael's wife, Margery, who lives in Canada.Margery wanted to immediately get on a plane to the valley, but couldn't get a visa.So with her husband in the hospital, the challenge became how to get the $700 to send Poncho back to Canada.Hanottle says, "Brenda started up a page for him and donations started coming in and just within a couple of days we had it."The largest donation came from the Joint Service Honors Command in Fresno. The volunteer organization which helps the families of deceased veterans raised some $600.Lt. Col Joel Hoheshelt says, "I'm kind of a dog lover. I got 3 survivor dogs myself. So when she told me about it I said don't worry about it's a done deal."By next week, Poncho will officially be a Canadian, thanks to the generosity of people in the valley.
KMPH Fox 26 is the Central Valley's news leader, covering Fresno, California and the surrounding area, including Clovis, Madera, Hanford, Visalia, Biola, Kerman, Tranquillity, San Joaquin, Reedley, Coalinga, Avenal, Lemoore, Tulare, Selma, Caruthers, Tollhouse, Three Rivers, Porterville, and Merced.