Blind Marine K-9 finds forever family in Northern Nevada

SPANISH SPRINGS

A Marine veteran who went blind while in service to his country has found a home in Spanish Springs.

Since the nine-hour drive from Camp Pendleton in Southern California the last week in June, he has been getting accustomed to his new digs, meeting the family, taking naps, chewing on tennis balls and begging for belly rubs.

It’s OK.

His name is Asur, and he’s a dog.

The 4-year-old German shepherd, a bomb-detection specialist during his time in the Marines, has been adopted by Ross and Bunnie Laflin, whose ranch home overlooking the Spanish Springs Valley includes seven other dogs, two cats, four goats and three chickens — all rescued.

“He’s part of the family,” Ross Laflin, a retired San Francisco police officer, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “He and Rookie (one of the rescued dogs) sleep on the bed with me. He’s going to be a good dog.”

The Laflins found out about Asur through their daughter, Bonnie-Jill, who operates a nonprofit charitable organization called Hounds and Heroes, which, among other services, promotes the care of animals through rescue, foster and adoption.

On a visit to Camp Pendleton in early June, Bonnie-Jill was approached by a Marine sergeant in the canine unit who told her about Asur, who had been deployed to Afghanistan and Southeast Asia before returning to Pendleton to work as a military police dog.

Asur had recently become blind because of acute glaucoma. The pressure on his eyes was so great, and the pain so bad, doctors determined the only way to save his life was to remove his eyes completely.

Bonnie-Jill, a sportscaster and former NBA basketball scout who lives in the Los Angeles area, met Asur and immediately said yes. Not only would she rescue the dog, but she would make him a part of her own family.

“Because he was a special-needs dog, I knew me and my family could give him a good home,” she said.

So she contacted her parents to tell them the news.

“She immediately texted his picture to us and said, ‘Mom and Dad, we have a new member in our family,’” Bunnie Laflin said. “Asur and Bonnie-Jill bonded from the first second they met.”

Not that there weren’t challenges. Asur, after all, had spent his life as a working military dog.

Marine Cpl. Erin Swanson was Asur’s final handler at Camp Pendleton.

“He was a dog that was being retired from the field side of the Marine canine unit, so we took him on in the provost marshal’s office,” Swanson said. “We do the police side of work for the Marine Corps installation. I started handling him, and he was a great dog for patrol. He was highly aggressive when it came to training. But he was overall very happy, friendly — a big puppy is what he was.”

Among the major missions Swanson did with Asur was military air shows and duty at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., when Mitt Romney was nominated to run against President Barack Obama.

“We supported the Secret Service,” she said. “He was an explosives dog, so our job was to detect and locate explosives. He was an overall really good dog.”

Since his arrival in Nevada from Camp Pendleton, it’s been a gradual adjustment period.

“There was a lot to deal with the first day,” Bunnie Laflin said. “Just the layout of our house and learning the perimeters of our property must have been overwhelming.”

Asur also had to adjust from a mild climate near the ocean at Camp Pendleton to Nevada’s high desert in the middle of summer.

“When we first got him, he started to be a couch potato, and we were very concerned,” Bunnie Laflin said.

Several of the Laflins’ other dogs have special needs, but they knew they were taking on a challenge with a totally blind dog.

“There’s no comparison,” Ross Laflin said. “Having a blind dog, it’s hard to describe the amount of time it takes. It’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever had. I think we can overcome it, but it’s going to take time. In the beginning, we were just doing this by ourselves, kind of trial and error and just winging it.”

Help recently came from Purina, which learned the Laflins had adopted Asur and sent three people, including a canine behavior specialist, to Reno from its corporate office in St. Louis, Mo., to help.

The visitors came bearing toys, equipment and training techniques. The trainer taught the Laflins some voice and touch commands, which have been a great benefit, they said.

“He’s feeling more confident out there with the commands we’ve learned,” Bunnie Laflin said. “He’s learning again to enjoy the outside and to be a regular dog, not just laying on the couch or a bed. Just to see him wagging his tail meant so much.”

Bonnie-Jill said she will be in Nevada as much as possible to visit Asur.

“My dad and I have a competition about which of us he likes best,” she said with a laugh. “I talk to (Asur) every day on the phone. I’ll be there in a couple of weeks to see him.”

Recently, Ross Laflin walked Asur around the yard, and the dog responded to every command.

Finally, the Laflins sat on a bench, Asur at their feet, his tongue wagging and the hint of a smile on his face.

It looked as if he was feeling right at home.

“We couldn’t expect any more from him,” Bunnie Laflin said. “He’s just very sweet, very lovable, and he’s completed our home.”

ad-high_impact_4
News
1 dead after shooting near Sahara and the Strip in Las Vegas
Lt. Ray Spencer briefs the news media on a shooting at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South that left one dead. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
2 in custody after chase
Two people were in custody after a chase involving Nevada Highway Patrol and Nye County Sheriff"s office deputies ended in southwest Las Vegas. Las Vegas police blocked off Rainbow Boulevard north of Tropicana Avenue around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Law enforcement personnel prepared to tow a black sedan as part of their investigation. It's not certain what precipitated the chase or where and when it started. Check back for updates.
Police Officer's Vehicle Was Taken During Shooting
Video from body worn camera footage released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Wednesday shows an officer realizing his police vehicle has been taken during the chaos of the Route 91 shooting. It was later recovered at Sunrise hospital with the keys in the ignition and nothing removed. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
See Kitty Hawk’s flying car cruise over Lake Las Vegas
Kitty Hawk takes their flying car for a ride in the company’s hidden test facility in Lake Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Las Vegas police wild pursuit through busy Las Vegas streets
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man shot strolling through park
A man was hospitalized early Tuesday morning after being shot while walking in a central Las Vegas park. Las Vegas police say the man and a woman were in Molasky Park just after midnight when the man was shot. The pair ran to a nearby supermarket where a security guard called for help. The man was hospitalized and as of 3 a.m. was in stable condition. Police have yet to identify the shooter and no suspects are in custody.
Police investigating shooting at east valley apartment complex
No one was injured late Monday night after someone fired shots at a vehicle at an east valley apartment complex. Police responded just before midnight to the Hamptons Apartments, 3070 S. Nellis Blvd. Someone fired shots at a vehicle that was leaving the complex, and struck the vehicle. Another bullet struck a nearby apartment building. The shooter or shooters remain at-large.
Suspect fires at Las Vegas police before officers shoot, end wild pursuit
An intense chase near Downtown Las Vegas ends after gunfire is exchanged as the suspect flees on busy streets and ends up near an elementary school. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Hundreds Attend Slides, Rides and Rock and Roll in North Las Vegas
Hundreds attended the inaugural slides, rides and rock and roll event in North Las Vegas Saturday. The event featured a car show, water slide park and live music. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It's All Rainbows At The Center's New Cafe
The Gay and Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) introduced its new coffeeshop, Little Rainbow Cafe, in June. Rainbows are everywhere, even in the lattes and toast, and employees wear t-shirts with the quote "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud." Owner Ben Sabouri said the concept is "built around the idea of, you know, be kind and treat everybody the same." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a Rainbow Latte at the The Center's Little Rainbow Cafe
The Center, a community center for the LGBTQ community of Southern Nevada, has a new cafe. Little Rainbow Cafe serves up a pride-inspired signature "Rainbow Latte." (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed trying to cross Sahara
A pedestrian was killed Friday trying to cross Sahara Avenue near Maryland Parkway about 5 a.m. A sedan struck the pedestrian while the person was outside the crosswalk between Maryland Parkway and Pardee Place, according to Las Vegas police. Police also said the driver of the sedan remained at the site of the crash. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the 75th fatal crash that Las Vegas police have investigated in 2018.
Man shot multiple times
Las Vegas police are investigating after a man was shot multiple times early Friday morning. The shooting was called in about 3:20 a.m. at the Harbor Island Apartments, 370 E. Harmon Ave., near Koval Lane. The man was hospitalized and is expected to survive, but police are still searching for the shooter.
Former Military Police Corps Officer Celebrates 100th Birthday
Summerlin resident Gene Stephens, who served as a military policeman in WWII and escorted then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and President Roosevelt during the war, turned 100 on July 13, 2018. He credits his longevity to living a normal life, exercising regularly and eating three square meals a day. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Motorcyclist suffers serious injuries
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured Tuesday night after a crash on Charleston Boulevard. The crash was reported just before 10 p.m. near Durango Drive, according to Las Vegas police. The motorcyclist was hospitalized with unknown injuries but is expected to survive. Las Vegas police are investigating the cause of the accident.
CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara Has Lunch With Students
New Clark County School District superintendent Jesus Jara continued his listening tour by having lunch with students at Red Rock Elementary School as part of the district's summer lunch program. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, children under the age of 18 can find a free lunch at 104 different locations across the valley through the summer months. Jara highlighted the free program and the importance of eating healthy during his visit. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Timeline Leading Up to Scott Dozier's Execution
Scott Dozier is set to be executed by lethal injection the night of July 11 at Ely State Prison. Dozier was convicted of the April 2002 killing of 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller and was given the death penalty in Oct. 2007. In 2016 Dozier asked in a letter to District Judge Jennifer Togliatti requesting that he “be put to death.” A three-drug cocktail of midazolam, a sedative; the painkiller fentanyl; and cisatracurium, a paralytic, is expected to end his life. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Program Helps Mothers Battling Addiction
Jennifer Stanert has battled drug addiction on and off for the last 21 years. It caused her to lose custody of one of her children, Alec, after she gave birth while high. A new program at Dignity Health St. Rose Dominican Hospitals aims to connect mothers like Stanert with community resources and provide case management services while still pregnant to get connected to lactation and parenting classes, group peer support and education on neonatal abstinence syndrome. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Felon caught with guns in Mandalay Bay room 3 years before Las Vegas shooting
A felon was caught with guns in a Mandalay Bay hotel room three years before the October 1st mass shooting. Six weapons were found inside Kye Aaron Dunbar’s 24th floor room in November 2014. Four were semi-automatic. One was a scoped rifle pointing toward the Strip, according to court documents. Dunbar was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for unlawful possession. The case just came to light in a lawsuit accusing Mandalay Bay of negligence in connection with the Oct. 1st shooting.
Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas area garner complaints
Clark County received nearly 25,000 complaints over the Independence Day holiday on a new illegal fireworks site. Reports from the site led to at least 10 illegal fireworks busts across the valley overnight. As of Thursday morning, the county is still compiling the total number of citations issued.
House fire displaces 2 people
Two people were displaced after a house fire early Thursday morning. The fire, at 963 Temple Drive in east Las Vegas, was reported just after midnight, according to a battalion chief from the Clark County Fire Department. Crews from the North Las Vegas and Las Vegas fire departments also were called in to help. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
"Red White and Boom" July 4 Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Full video of the Fourth of July "Red White and Boom" fireworks show at the Stratosphere as seen from the 8th floor Elation Pool. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite
July 4th fireworks at the Eureka Casino Resort in Mesquite. (7-04-18) (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Crowds Enjoy Fireworks at the Stratosphere
Revelers enjoyed watching fireworks displays from the Stratosphere's 8th floor Elation pool on July 4. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed in Henderson
A pedestrian trying to cross St. Rose Parkway at Bermuda was hit by a vehicle on Tuesday night and later died. The crash was reported around 11:30 p.m. Las Vegas police responded initially, but handed over the investigation to Henderson police once it was determined the accident happened in their jurisdiction. Las Vegas police did respond to a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle on the Strip. The person, who was hit by a BMW near Fashion Show mall, suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.
USPS owes $3.5 million for using Vegas Statue of Liberty on stamp
The United States Postal Service has been ordered to pay $3.5 million to a sculptor after using the Las Vegas replica of the Statue of Liberty in a stamp. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Officer Brent Horlacher shoots at Jessie Murillo
Las Vegas police video of an officer-involved shooting on June 29, 2018. Officer Brent Horlacher, 28, fired a single shot at suspect Jessie Murillo. Murillo was not injured. The radio audio is of the officer who fired the gun and the body camera video is from a different officer. Radio audio excerpts are added to the video and are not the precise times the audio was spoken.
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like