By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)March 8, 2017
Fort Leonard Wood's beloved USO therapy dog, Bandit, has lain a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, starred in USO-of-Missouri commercials and comforted countless service members and veterans. Now, he has his own chapter in National Geographic's latest book, "Loyal: 38 Inspiring Tales of Bravery, Heroism, and Devotion of Dogs."
"His chapter talks about his journey and has stories from service men and women (about) what he has meant to them and their recovery," said his owner, Kelly Brownfield, Fort Leonard Wood USO Center director.
Author Rebecca Ascher-Walsh said including Bandit in her latest book was an easy decision. She calls Bandit a "soulful giant," saying she came across Brownfield's social media site and was moved by the work the pair are doing.
"I came across her feed and thought to myself, 'if this dog doesn't make the world a better place then we should just give up now," Ascher-Walsh said.
Brownfield said it was an honor to have Bandit featured in the publication, and that his followers were anxious to share their experiences.
"When people found out we were featuring Bandit, it's like they couldn't get on the phone fast enough to tell me their stories and how he helped them," Ascher-Walsh said. "Things they weren't sharing with their Families or another human, they would share with Bandit and he would help them. This is one of my favorite chapters in the book."
In a September ceremony, Bandit received an honorary commission to the rank of second lieutenant for his dedication and support to service members and the Families of Fort Leonard Wood.
"I think he's a wonderful reminder that there is always a creature or being out there ready to listen," Ascher-Walsh said.
For more information on Bandit, his many adventures and how to get a copy of the book, search for "Bandit the Therapy Dog" on Facebook or go directly to Caution-www.facebook.com/VoteForBandit/.