Hearing impaired man’s service dog dies in flood

Christian Copper holding a picture of his service dog, Sportster, who died in severe flooding May 24, 2017.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A hearing impaired man is struggling with the loss of his service dog who died in last week’s severe flooding. His co-workers have started a GoFundMe campaign to get him another companion.

Last Wednesday, Christian Copper’s service dog was in her kennel in the basement. Copper rushed home to save her once he realized how intense the rain was getting, but he couldn’t get down there because the water had flooded all the way to the top of the stairs. He was too late.

Christian Copper holding a picture of his service dog, Sportster, who died in severe flooding May 24, 2017.

Copper had lost his best friend of eight years, a German Shepherd named Sportster.

“I have no family,” he said. “All I have is this home and she was my girl. It’s very lonely here without her.”

She drowned in his basement after severe flooding consumed his Southeast Fort Wayne neighborhood.

Copper was out with his girlfriend. He didn’t expect the rain to to become so fierce.

“The rain was heavy and I said, ‘I got to go home and get my dog,'” he said. “I tried. It was too late. I got the sewer lids off. I could do no more. So, I left. I was very distraught about my dog.”

Copper said Sportster was the reason he could function as a deaf man in the world. She let him know when someone was at his front door, when he was getting a phone call, woke him up in the morning, and she went everywhere with him.

He said he can’t think about replacing her just yet.

“I’m still very upset about her,” he said. “We all have to take care of our homes first to try to get livable. A lot of us have to do it on our own here because insurance did not cover.”

Sportster was his world.

“No dog ever made me laugh as much as Sportster did,” he said. “She laid in funny positions. She had the most beautiful eyes that would just make you grin no matter what kind of day you were having. All she did was want me. She waited for me to come home all day. That’s all she wanted to do. The companionship that she gave me is irreplaceable. I love her very much and I always will.”

To donate towards Copper’s new service dog, visit the GoFundMe Campaign his co-workers started for him.