How A Wounded War Dog Became An Advocate For Kindness And Acceptance

June 12, 2023

A courageous German Shepherd, who sustained injuries during service in Ukraine, has been given a second chance at life after being adopted by a Hungarian police department.

Rambo, a 3-year-old German shepherd, accompanied Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines of the war. During a rocket attack, he was wounded by shrapnel, sustaining injuries that left him unable to continue his duties. It was uncertain if he would survive.

He received emergency surgery that saved his life.

After his initial surgery, Rambo was taken to safety in western Ukraine. Violetta Kovacs, head of a Hungarian organization dedicated to rescuing German shepherds, soon collected him and brought him to a rehabilitation center near Budapest.

Rambo spent eight months at the center, where his jaw was reconstructed, his right ear amputated and several teeth removed.

Now, Rambo is training with the Budapest police department. Gyula Desko, a lieutenant colonel with the Budapest Metropolitan Police, adopted Rambo. He is learning how to interact with children, older adults and disabled people at police demonstrations and rehabilitation institutions.

"Nowadays, unfortunately, it happens that children mock each other because they wear glasses, because they have braces, because their ears look funny or whatever — because they’re different," said Lt. Col. Maria Stein. "With Rambo, we might be able to sensitize these children a little and show them that yes, he is injured, he’s different, but he can do the same things as other dogs."

Desko said Rambo is "so open with people and accepts them, despite his injuries and the shock that befell him." It's those qualities, he said, that the police force hopes will inspire those who meet Rambo to open themselves to kindness and acceptance.

His presence is also inspiring others to persevere in the face of adversity.

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