Injured Surfside comfort dog flies home to Philadelphia on private jet

SURFSIDE, Florida – A dog who served as a mental reliever after the Surfside collapse has received some much needed care of its own.

Teddy, a laid-back dog, needed a lot of help getting home, and the folks in South Florida assisted him home.

“Teddy has a personality where you just want to pull the heart out,” said Jeff Barrett, the dog’s owner.

And in an environment as low as the rubble at Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Teddy did just that for first responders.

Sophia Barrett, Teddy’s owner, is from Hollywood but currently lives in Philadelphia.

“It’s appalling what’s happening at Surfside, and being able to be the bright spot in everyone’s time is a privilege,” she said.

Barrett and a 6-year-old rescue team, a trained crisis response dog, spent three weeks in Surfside until he was injured. His hind legs have stopped working.

Teddy is a lab basset terrier, and he has a longer back, so his owners believe that maybe, along with a combination of being on top of rocks and the heat, may have led to injury.

Teddy’s vet said flying commercials at home would be too stressful and the long haul would be too difficult for him, so Sophia called for help. That’s when the Titan Aviation Corporation stepped in to help.

“When I’m having a bad day, my dog ​​always has a smile on his face,” says Titan Aviation Group owner Dirk Vander Sterre. “What he’s doing down there is amazing. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to be involved.”

His company recommended a trip on an eight-seat Hawker 800 XP plane.

“Of course, Teddy will have first-class service,” said pilot Jim Rozman. “Of course, he’ll be on a private jet and air-conditioned, and I’m sure he’ll also have access to water.”

While Teddy needed some help getting up the stairs and some guidance to get through the cabin, Teddy had a comfy couch all to himself.

Once he was settled and happy, the jet took off for Philadelphia, and the rescuer’s rescue was nearing completion.

“He was out there and did his best to meet all those people and to greet them and be friendly with them,” says Jeff.

“The big men in the rubble grabbed the dog’s face and just hugged it,” said Rene Barrett, the dog’s owner. “It gives them relief.”

The normal donation flight would have cost $10,000, and they were shipped to Philadelphia.

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Huynh Nguyen

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