Medical Service Dog Shot and Killed in Owner’s Front Yard
A little girl and her family are heartbroken in Quinlan after someone shot their dog, right in the family's front yard. Fifteen-year-old Hannah Westmoreland developed type one diabetes at eight years old. As a little girl, Hannah and her mother determined to embrace life despite all the shots and medical monitoring, to "find joy in the journey."
A few years later Hannah received a golden retriever she named Journey. And he was a joy.
Journey Saved Hannah's Life
Her mother Tina says Journey saved Hannah's live more than once. Diabetes Assist dogs smell the air for a scent on their owners' breath that means their blood sugar is dropping. They alert the person or their parents to take action before their blood sugar gets to a dangerous level.
"He'd alert her," said Tina, "And she'd have no idea and we'd check her blood sugar and it would be in the 40s or 50s." Journey stayed with Hannah almost around the clock. He went to school with her, accompanied her shopping and was her constant companion everywhere else. Then on January 13, 2019, tragedy struck.
Tina says she let Journey out to play Sunday morning, and he didn't come back in when she called them. When she went to find out what was wrong, he was motionless.
"My grandpa went to pick him up, and there was blood," Hannah told interviewers. "So he put his hand, and we figured out there was a gunshot."
Hannah kept pressure on the wound all the way to the veterinarian. Journey was supposed to have surgery after arrival, but he didn't survive.
The family says there was no reason for anyone to dislike Journey. "Nothing about him posed a threat, ever...Journey never barked and always obeyed and possibly would've followed commands from a stranger." They have no idea who might have killed the dog, or why they would do so.
Hannah's only consolation has been when people want to hear Journey's story. Her family launched the Justice4Journey campaign in an attempt to bring the person who killed him to justice. Their social media and GoFundMe pages received an outpouring of support.
Currently, Hunt County Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information can call (903)457-2929, and information they give will be kept anonymous.
Hannah says she doesn't want another service dog, because she knows no other dog could replace Journey. Stay updated on the story and read more about Hannah and Journey on the family's Facebook page.