Former first responder in need of new service dog - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Former first responder in need of new service dog

Boca, a service member dog, has three to six months left to live. Boca, a service member dog, has three to six months left to live.
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

The service dog that belongs to a former police officer and firefighter from New Britain was diagnosed with an incurable disease.

Joe Elwell was hit by a drunk driver several years ago and he said the doctors recommended a mobility service dog to help him.

Elwell said Boca, his 138-pound 2-year-old German Shepherd, has been a huge help and had never left his side in the two years they were together.

But he said Boca will have to be put down soon because he was diagnosed with three diseases over the past six months and has been on medication to keep him comfortable.

Elwell estimated that his beloved dog had three to six months left to live.

"It's like losing a best friend," Elwell said, "and I don't think I stopped crying for four days after I heard the news."

As much as he doesn't want to, he said he has to find a replacement dog. However, that's not cheap.

Elwell said it costs about $12,000 for a service dog.

"It's very hard for me to reach out and ask people especially for funds like this," he said.

He took to Facebook and passed out flyers in hopes of raising funds.

For a man whose job it was to help others, he said he's looking for help himself.

"I just want to reach out and try to get the same help so I can put Boca to rest and get training as soon as we can," said Elwell.

For anyone looking to help Elwell, a "Fundrazr" site has been set up for donations. You can find it here.

Donors can also send a check to:

  • "Elwell, Service Dog Fundraiser"
  • Webster Bank, 665 West Main Street
  • New Britain, CT 06053

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