Mike, a dog who served in Iraq in the U.S. Army with his human Army veteran Matthew Bessler, was shot by a bicyclist who gave conflicted accounts of what happened. Mike became a service god for Bessler after coming home from the war. Both of them are suffering post-traumatic disorder.
Ten-year-old Mike, a Belgian Malinois, had been with Bessler since it was just a puppy, Powell Tribune reported. Sadly, he was killed while Bessler was away hunting.
Bessler told the Powell Tribune that Mike was a nice dog and was gentle to children. “As a dog and a companion, he was probably one of the most loyal animals to anyone he came across. If he knew you and you were in my house, he was by your side, leaning up against you,” Bessler said.
Bessler knew in his heart that Mike would never attack someone. And if ever he did attack the man who shot him, he cannot be threatening because the dog lost his teeth from years of chewing rocks because of post-traumatic disorder, Bessler said.
According to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the 59-year-old bicyclist who killed Mike said he shoot the dog because he was threatened. “(The man) said he was genuinely in fear of his life and well-being, and the dog was ‘definitely in full attack mode and not backing down at all,’” Park County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lance Mathess told Powell Tribune.
According to Mathess the man was not injured in the encounter. Not a tiny-winy bit from Mike.
A neighbor told Bessler that he did not hear Mike’s barking. What the neighbor heard was the gunshot and when he came out of the house, Mike was already limping. “All there was was just a shot. The guests who were at the house, they said the same thing. There was no barking. It was just a gunshot,” Bessler told the Billing Gazzette.
A friend of Bessler said the man need not shoot Mike. “He had a perfect defense; he wasn’t bit. Why he had to pull a gun and shoot the dog, I don’t know,” the friend said.
Bessler suspects that the man deliberately shot Mike for reasons he does not know. “I think that a person that mounts a Judge, a .410 shot, onto their handlebars, has pretty premeditated intentions that they want to shoot a dog,” Bessler said.
Granted if it is true that Mike attacked the man, Bessler was ready to accept Mike’s death without any complaints. “If it went down the way the guy said it did, then so be it. But I’m disgusted with the fact that the guy hasn’t even shown his face to say, ‘I’m sorry this happened,’” he said.
Mike was a retired major in the Army that saved a number of lives by his impressive skill in bomb detection. Bessler hopes that Mike can have a burial and be given military honors.