Sometimes you hear about people and dogs and are instantly moved by their story with respect and admiration. That was exactly my reaction when I received an email from Bosnia genocide survivor Maja Kazazic telling me about herself and her Great Dane, Rosie. These two specially abled survivors have a special bond.
Maja’s story is heartbreaking. She was just 16 years old and hanging out with friends in Bosnia, when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded. She was the only survivor. “Due to infection and lack of any medical supplies,” Maja tells me, “my leg had to be amputated without anesthesia.” She was eventually sent to the United States for medical treatment. More than 100 surgeries and many other obstacles later, she has survived and somewhat healed. Not surprising, she’s left with terrible PTSD. “I was living with constant panic attacks, night terrors and re-living genocide on almost a daily basis. This left me broken and, at times, unable to function.”
Enter Rosie. When the pup was a few weeks old, her dog mom broke her leg by stepping on it. Unfortunately, even after multiple vet and specialist visits, infection set in and her leg had to be amputated. She ended up at Hanger Clinic to be fit with a prosthetic leg, where she met Maja when they were working on her own prosthetic leg. “In the next few days I adopted her, and we have been inseparable ever since,” Maja says.
It’s the perfect match. Maja helps Rosie with her prosthetic leg (they are working on number 18!), and Rosie trained to be a service dog, helping Maja with her PTSD. Rosie wakes Maja up from her night terrors and recognizes signs of panic attacks, stopping them before they begin. “She provides comfort and peace I thought I lost forever,” Maja says. “I regained my ability to live a ‘normal’ life. I can’t imagine my life without her.”
Today, Rosie and Maja give back by visiting nursing homes and schools. “We try to show others that obstacles only exist in your mind,” Maja says. “Knowledge that has been gained from building Rosie’s prosthetics is used to improve care of other injured animals. Our unique friendship transcends the human/dog bond, teaching us as much about us as it does about our furry friends. We spread messages of support, love and hope.” Follow Rosie and Maja on Facebook and Instagram at @majaandrosie.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!
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