By Martha Jacob – News Democrat
When Clermont County army veteran Jim McClure’s service dog hurt his leg, McClure didn’t know what to do.
Apollo was playing with a couple other dogs one day and tried to climb a fence. He hurt his back leg badly in the fall.
“I took him to the vet right away,” McClure said. “He couldn’t even put weight on his leg, so I knew it was serious.”
McClure served in Desert Storm. Since coming home, he has spent years battling Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which for him involves dealing with night terror dreams, which often cause personal injury to him during the night, even breaking his thumb and a foot. He talked regularly with a psychologist at the Veteran’s Association about what he was dealing with.
“I spent a lot of time by myself,” McClure said. “I have some really good friends, but I just never feel like leaving my apartment or hanging out with them, I just wanted to stay home. I was talking to my doctor one day and asked her if she thought getting a service dog, a companion, might help my situation of being alone so much.
McClure’s psychologist liked the idea, so McClure started looking for a puppy to adopt. Once he met a puppy in Milford, he knew he had found the dog for him.
“I knew the second I saw him that he was for me. He was so friendly and sweet natured, I just fell in love with him, and we’ve been inseparable ever since that first day,” McClure said.
Jim named the beautiful little three month old puppy Apollo after seeing the movie Creed. Apollo spends about 90 percent of his life sitting in Jim’s lap watching TV or reading.
The first vet McClure took Apollo to suspected a torn ACL, and told McClure that the bill would be between $3,500 and $4,000.
McClure then took Apollo to a veterinarian near his home, who thought that Apollo likely had a break in the tibia.
When McClure told the doctor that he didn’t have that kind of money because he is on disability, the doctor told him that he may want to consider giving Apollo to someone who could afford the surgery.
“Well, that wasn’t an option for me,” McClure said. “That’s when my friend Curt Edwards decided to set up a GoFundMe account to see if it could help raise the $4,000 it was going to take to help Apollo. It was a terrible few days. I love that little dog so much, and to know I couldn’t help him was a real bad time for me.”
When word started spreading on the GoFundMe account, the money started pouring in from everywhere. In only about six days, the account had raised over $2,300 towards the bill.
However, that wasn’t all that happened. McClure was contacted by a rescue group called Joseph’s Legacy, who offered to help.
“The people from Joseph’s Legacy work with some great veterinarians who help all animals,” Jim said. “The group found a vet who would do the surgery for half the cost. I was overwhelmed, and the surgery was scheduled right away, for Monday morning, April 4. It turns out, Apollo didn’t have a torn ACL, nor did he have a broken tibia. The growth plate on his knee had broken loose and moved down and needed to be put back in place and pins put in to hold it there until it could heal.”
The surgery was scheduled and, according to McClure, went perfectly and Apollo is doing extremely well. Joseph’s Legacy paid the bill and McClure donated the money raised from GoFundMe to Joseph’s Legacy to help with future cases.
“I don’t think anyone can fully understand what a difference Apollo has made in my life,” McClure said. “Just having him here every day, sitting on my lap, looking at him, talking to him, loving him, I can’t imagine my life without him. He makes it hard to think about the bad things that have happened in my life.”
McClure would like to encourage all dog lovers to donate to Joseph’s Legacy which can be found on Facebook.