JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND – The daughter of a Berne couple scrubs into the sterile operating room and lays out the instruments the surgeon will need. High-tech life-support machines surround her as she draws blood from the patients hairy paw.
This 6-year-old German shepherd is just one of the many military working dogs she and her colleagues provide medical care for on a daily basis.
Army Sgt. Holly Braun, daughter of Susan and Anthony Braun, is an animal care specialist with the Military Working Dog Veterinary Service at the Lt. Col. Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital.
The hospital is the only Level 4 veterinary hospital, a one-of-a-kind facility providing primary and specialty care for government working dogs serving worldwide, including dogs undergoing training as part of the National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program.
The veterinary service has a hospital and a clinic and a team of 30. They provide complete veterinary care for about 800 on-base kenneled dogs. They also oversee all care of federally owned dogs that are getting discharged from federal service.
Typically, they see 25 dogs a week for surgeries, 100 dogs a week for dental work, 40 to 60 dogs a week for checkups and 60 a week for physical therapy.
Braun has been working as an animal care specialist for 13 years. She said she enjoys taking care of the dogs.
My favorite part about being a part of the program is when I see them recover from an illness or injury under my care or with my help, said the 2000 graduate of Adams Central High School in Monroe. Braun earned an associates degree in 2013 from Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas.
Braun said she signed up for the Army before her senior year of high school and joined the Army because of a research assignment in high school.
I liked what I learned, and I also joined for the financial assistance for college, she said. I chose animal care because I have always loved animals, and I love my job.
After two 12-month deployments to Afghanistan, Braun said she plans on making the Army a career.