Veteran Gives Free Dog to Another Veteran

By Addison Speck, Reporter

Adam Eilers of Garnavillo, Iowa receives his new Dog, Sophie Saturday afternoon. Adam was presented with Sophie as a gift. Eilers is an Afghanistan Veteran and Sophie will assist him with his PTSD. (Mike Griffith/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Liz Blood

GARNAVILLO, Iowa - A Northeast Iowa Veteran received a new dog, free of charge, on Saturday. The dog was delivered by another veteran wanting to pay it forward.

Adam Eilers was ready to pay for a hungarian vizsla dog. He knew a man was coming to drop it off early Saturday afternoon. To his surprise, a man named Mark McAvan showed up and told him the dog was his, no money necessary.

"Never in my mind did I expect that, it was a really good surprise," said Eilers.

McAvan is a Vietnam Veteran who lives in Vinton. When he heard Eilers wanted the dog, he did all he could to make it happen.

On Saturday he was up early to make the trip from Vinton to Sigourney to pick up the dog, then made the trek from Sigourney to Garnavillo to deliver it. After nearly six hours he arrived at Eilers house. "It's just my way of saying thank you, these vets have given enough," said McAvan.

Eilers served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. While he was there a vehicle he was in was hit with an IED. "I had a broken vertebrae, collapsed lung, broken left leg, broken left arm, and they decided to take half of my skull out," said Eilers.

Doctors weren't sure if Eilers would ever wake up from his five month long coma, let alone walk again.

On Saturday, he walked around his yard with his dog of a few years, Captain, and the newest member of the family, Sophie. "She's a good dog, a lot of energy, but she's a good dog," said Eilers. He said he's excited to have another companion, and humbled by what a complete stranger did for him.

McAvan recommends anyone who has an extra dog they can't sell or find a home for, to donate it to a veteran. McAvan currently has 4, 8-week -old, Hungarian Vizsla puppies for sale in Vinton.

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