A new best friend for OAR volunteers unleashed

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Madelyn Keech
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Barbara Cordero, 86th Medical Group surgical technician, adopted her dog, a boxer mix named Goliath, three years ago as a Senior Airman. Cordero quickly noticed that Goliath instinctively comforted a few of her friends who suffered from anxiety and other stress disorders.

Later, when Cordero had her own stress breakdown, she saw Goliath was keen to offer his support to her as well. Given his instinct to comfort, she decided to take classes online to train Goliath as an emotional support dog. He was such a good boy in his training and was eventually certified.

In her military role, Cordero was quickly readied for action when the initial evacuation from Afghanistan began. “As soon as Operation Allies Refuge started, we were put on standby to receive patients,” she said.

Cordero was looking to help with OAR in other ways as well Outside of duty, she has taken to volunteering her time simply by walking the evacuee camp and making Goliath available to Airmen, Soldiers and partners who just need a new best friend - if even for only a few minutes at a time. Out of respect for cultural differences, Goliath does not interact with evacuees at the base. Pictures are popular as Goliath frequently poses for the pup-arazzi with service members and volunteers.

Cordero realized that while some Airmen and Soldiers have their family members to lean on, some base residents and augmentees may not. Many service members are very young and may not know how to properly cope with stress, she said. She believes that even talking to them and distracting them from the heaviness of the situation can make a difference. She said if Goliath makes her happy, its paw-sible that he can make other people happy too.

“Even if he wasn’t an emotional support animal, he’d still be able to help immensely like he has in the last few days,” Cordero said. “He just walks around, looks cute, smiles and approaches pretty much everyone.”

Those that have encountered Cordero and Goliath at Ramstein all agree that what they are doing is paw-some.