Posted December 11, 2014
When Sgt. William Cole returned from serving his country in both
Iraq and Afghanistan, he was haunted by nightmares and depression.
Traditional therapy and medications failed to heal Cole, but soon a
new friend, a Labrador retriever named Hank, would help Cole find
peace. However, Hank soon fell victim to a car accident, leaving
him with severe, life-threatening injuries.
Fortunately for Hank, he was brought to the Texas A&M
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), where highly trained
veterinarians worked as a team to address Hank’s injuries. Early
intervention and a lengthy stay in the ICU have given Hank a second
In response to Hank’s story, CVM development council member Dr.
Mike Moore ’79 has resurrected Eli’s Fund. Moore’s original gift to
create Eli’s Fund honored Colton Rusk, of Orange Grove, Texas, and
his military working dog, Eli, whose family Moore knows well
through his work on behalf of wounded warriors and their
After Rusk’s death in active duty in 2010, Eli refused to work or
even move from Rusk’s cot at their base, so he was released to
retire in Orange Grove with Rusk’s family. At that time, Eli was
only the second dog in United States history to be granted this
honor. The Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) has pledged
to cover all of Eli’s veterinary care for the rest of his life.
Eli’s Fund is a source of financial support for active duty
service men and women, medically retired veterans’ service animals,
and retired military animals with veterinary medical bills at the
To be considered for Eli's Fund assistance, pets must be:
Treatment must be performed
at the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
In appreciation of the support he received from the college and
animal lovers everywhere, Cole will be donating a portion of the
money he raised on Hank’s behalf to Eli’s Fund so that other
veterans and military personnel will be able to care for the
animals that mean so much to them. With a contribution to Eli’s
Fund, you too have the opportunity to help active duty service men
and women, veterans, and retired military animals. Animals play a
special role in the lives of their owners, and continued support
will ensure that animals in need and their owners will have access
to life-saving care.
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