Alaska man donates amputated leg to search and rescue dogs

Fetch just got real.
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Fetch just got real.

If one needs to amputate a leg, where does it go? The trash? The morgue? Do you lacquer it and turn it into a macabre Christmas Story-style lamp?

If you’re Donald Jacobs, a 65-year-old Vietnam vet from Valdez, AK, you donate it to Alaska’s canine search and rescue. The paraplegic and SAR supporter decided to amputate the leg on doctor’s recommendations after a persistent sore failed to heal. The leg will be frozen and different parts of it will be partitioned and used for wilderness training over the next several years.

Jacobs’ leg will be used for years. It’s a whole lot of material, more than 20 bones in the foot, the larger bones of the leg, muscle and skin.

“We’ll need to be sure and take care of the leg,” Aist said, “so it doesn’t get contaminated. It will be kept frozen.”

Parts of the leg will be hidden during training sessions, which the group does two to three times a week, Aist said. “It’s definitely a lifestyle.” Remote wilderness near the Anchorage Bowl is used for training, as well as buildings in Alaska’s largest city, such as the Anchorage Fire Department’s training center.

For water training, the pieces of the leg will be placed in capsules and sunk in water.

Officials hope Jacobs’ donation inspires other amputees to support search and rescue operations. Without access to materials, SAR crews typically donate their own hair, blood, and even placentas to train canine rescue squads. Are any potential amputees out there listening? You can be a hero, too. It’ll only cost you an arm or a leg.

Source: Alaska Dispatch