Winthrop man loses his service dog

WINTHROP – Donations are sought for a disabled rural Winthrop man who lost his service dog companion several days ago when it was hit by a car.

Mike Giroux, who operates Indian Lake Game Birds with his wife Christine, began working with “Buckwheat,” a labrador/border collie 11 years ago after he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). Service dogs are trained to help people with hearing impairments, mental illness, seizures, diabetes, autism and other disabilities.

Labrador retrievers, german shepherds and golden retrievers are most often used as service dogs but any breed or mix of breeds are capable of becoming a service dog.

“Buckwheat was at my side all the time. I’m lost without him,” said Giroux who said he has undergone spinal surgery six times. “It’s hard to get up some mornings, but the dog always got me going. He was my companion. He knew when I was down and out. He’d stack toys in front of me and want to go outside and fetch them.”

A former sheet metal worker, Girioux said he was a trained First Responder who witnessed a number of construction job site accidents that led to his PTSD. He has hopes of finding a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, dogs historically used to retrieve waterfowl, often become hunting companions and family pets and are described as having bright and happy dispositions, courage, willingness to work, alertness, intelligence and love of water, among other attributes.

“They’re known to be intensely loyal to their owners, one-man dogs, often used for search and rescue and drug sniffing,” Girioux said.

Donations can be sent to the Mike Girioux Canine Fund, Mid-Country Bank, P.O. Box 424, Winthrop, MN 55396.

Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at fbusch@nujournal.com

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