Photo Opportunity: Recovered Hero Dog of Military Family Heads Home for the Holidays

Nov 27, 2012, 06:52 ET from SPCA Florida

WHAT: Hero Dog Departure to Military Family in Spain
WHEN: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: MCO, Continental Cargo Facility, 8841 Bear Road, Orlando, FL 32827

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dante, a black Labrador who suffered severe snakebites while protecting his human family then received life-saving Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) at SPCA Florida, is finally heading home for the holidays. Dante's human parents, United States Navy Commander Carl Eierle and his wife Charlotte Eierle are stationed in Spain.

Mrs. Eierle said she and her husband, a surgeon in the US Navy, adored Dante from the first moment they saw him because of his incredibly lovable personality. Increased cost and flight restrictions caused Dante to be scheduled on a different flight, leaving the dog behind with relatives in Florida when Commander and Mrs. Eierle deployed to Spain.

"It was an awful moment when I had to send him to my mother, and I recall telling him I would see him in Spain very soon. He was set to depart exactly one week later, having received his health clearance on the morning he ended up saving my mother's life, protecting her from a potentially fatal snake attack," said Eierle.

Instead of a flight and homecoming, a very swollen and ill Dante received antivenin and blood transfusions from Celebration Animal Clinic and Veterinary Health Associates, and then he was referred to SPCA Florida for HBOT treatment. The therapy dramatically reduced his swelling and sped up his recovery time by safely and painlessly delivering highly concentrated Oxygen to damaged cells on Dante's face and neck.

Weeks later Dante is completely healed and ready for his long-awaited voyage to his family in Spain. On Wednesday, November 28 at 2:30 p.m. Mrs. Eierle's mother, Gudrun Mastriano, will send her four-legged hero from Orlando International Airport to Madrid, Spain using United Airlines' PetSafe® program, which is the airline's specially designed animal transportation service. PetSafe is regarded as a leader in the pet transport industry and features a dedicated 24-hour PetSafe travel desk, the ability to track pets from origin to destination, plane compartments pressurized in the same way as passenger cabins and climate-controlled facilities for pets' safety and comfort.

"SPCA Florida played a vital role in saving Dante's life with HBOT," said Sean Hawkins, SPCA Florida's CEO. "While our heroic troops are protecting Americans abroad, SPCA Florida is helping to protect our animal heroes here at home."

About SPCA Florida
Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is on track to serve 50,000 patients through the McClurg Animal Medical Center and provide direct care to more than 6,000 animals in Polk County this year through the Animal Adoption Center. Ani-Meals, which provides food and medical treatment for animals whose guardians are low-income, and the Guardian Angel Program, which provides medical treatment to animals in need, serve hundreds more animals yearly. SPCA Florida's full-service McClurg Animal Medical Center provides affordable veterinary care for animals every day. Find out more about SPCA Florida or support us by visiting

Jessica Lawson – Manager of Media Relations
SPCA Florida
O: (863) 646-7722 ext. 105
C: (386) 986-8093