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Cat and bomb-sniffing dog inseparable

Cat and bomb-sniffing dog inseparable

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Marvel, a golden Labrador retriever, and Otis, a rescue cat, were inseparable from the moment they met.

Darrell Douglas and Roberta Grout-Douglas, their owners, described Marvel and Otis as best friends. They often cuddle and sleep together, or roam together outside, Douglas said.

“They are kindred spirits,” he said.

But the two might not have had a chance to even meet had it not been for the veterinarians at Lake Hickory Veterinary Hospital, whom Douglas and Grout-Douglas hope to honor for their role in saving Marvel’s life. Marvel has been cancer-free for two years.

Today, Douglas and Grout-Douglas plan to present Reid and Glander with a plaque and picture of Marvel and Otis together to thank them for saving Marvel’s life.

Marvel, now 12, retired in 2018 from service as an explosives-detection canine after a last trip to Afghanistan, where he aided Douglas, a bomb evaluation specialist.

Douglas started working with Marvel in 2011, and the assignments included 17 trips to Afghanistan and Iraq, a NATO Summit in Chicago and the Boston Marathon bombing.

“He made countless sacrifices to protect our nation,” Douglas said, his voice thick with emotion. “When it was time to go to work, he went to work. He was spot on. ... He’s my best friend. He saved me more than once.”

After realizing that Marvel had post-traumatic stress disorder, Douglas decided to retire Marvel and work with him as a private contractor.

Shortly after they returned home in 2018, Douglas noticed a growth on Marvel’s back right leg. In March 2019, Dr. Alison Reid and Dr. Denise Glander of Lake Hickory Veterinary Hospital performed a biopsy and found that the growth was cancerous. Reid performed surgery but wasn’t able to remove all the cancer, which had traveled down Marvel’s leg, Douglas said.

Marvel went through 15 radiation treatments and eight chemotherapy treatments.

Marvel developed a close relationship with Otis after he was cured, Douglas said.

Grout-Douglas explained that a worker from Lake Hickory Veterinary originally found Otis in a ditch when he was a week old. Douglas and Grout-Douglas were at the veterinarian with their dogs when they were told about Otis, and the veterinarian suggested they adopt him. Grout-Douglas was initially against taking Otis in, but he had already stolen Douglas’ heart. After seeing Otis hug their three dogs around the neck upon meeting, Douglas and Grout-Douglas took Otis home and fell in love with him.

Otis is especially fond of Marvel.

“They were inseparable [since they met],” Douglas said. “Marvel loves Otis to death.”

Grout-Douglas said Otis has picked up habits from Marvel and the other dogs.

“He thinks he’s a dog because he was raised by dogs,” she said. “He even fetches.”

Reporter Carmen Boone can be reached at 828-610-8723

Reporter Carmen Boone can be reached at 828-610-8723

This article originally ran on newstopicnews.com.

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