Navy Brass Salutes One of Kitsap’s Top Dogs

— After 11 years of sniffing out drugs and patrolling Naval Base Kitsap, Benny the military working dog is retiring to an Illinois horse ranch.

The 12-year-old German shepherd received a farewell salute — and several treats — during a sunny retirement ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the Bangor base.

He joined base commander Capt. Mark Olson at the podium to accept a Navy Commendation Medal, a plaque from Navy Region Northwest with a letter of appreciation from its commander, Rear Adm. James Symonds, an American flag, a stunning blue “civilian” leash and a paw shake.

Benny’s first handler, Michael DeBock, traveled from Duvall to speak to a crowd of about 30 people and six of Benny’s kennel mates.

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Benny, a military service dog, enjoys a bite of his retirement cake after formal ceremonies at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. With Benny is his handler, Allan Tetreault, who has worked with the German shepherd for 18 months. (Steve Zugschwerdt | For the Kitsap Sun)

“Out of all the dogs I handled in the military, Benny by far was my favorite,” said DeBock, now retired from the Navy and a police sergeant. “I’ll never forget him. He was definitely the best patrol pal anyone could ask for.”

Looking down at Benny, he added, “Enjoy long days basking in the sun. You deserve it.”

Benny got off to a rough start. Straight out of training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, the puppy just wanted to play. But soon he became a top performer.

In January 2000, he earned the top dog award at a Naval Base Kitsap competition. Three months later, he and DeBock finished fourth out of 58 teams from around the world at a competition in San Antonio, were the top Navy team there, and were featured in a magazine.

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Benny, a military service dog for 11 years, was the guest of honor at a retirement ceremony Tuesday at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. Benny’s handler, Allan Tetreault, led Benny past the Bangor canine unit to the podium. (Steve Zugschwerdt | For the Kitsap Sun)

Benny served at Bangor from March 1998 to December 2008, playing a key role in ensuring a drug-free workplace by inspecting buildings, bachelor housing rooms, vehicles and submarines. He also served two stints in Iraq and another in Kuwait.

“He was a very passionate dog, very people-friendly, just a good partner,” said 1st Class Petty Officer Allan Tetreault, his handler the past 18 months.

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Military service dog Benny, center, and handler Allan Tetreault pose with other members of the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor canine unit. (Steve Zugschwerdt | For the Kitsap Sun)

The dog’s handler gets first dibs on him, then the other handlers have a chance. If none of them take him, members of the public can sign up at http://www.workingdog.com to adopt one. In Benny’s case, he was adopted by a woman who owns a horse ranch in Illinois.

Unlike police dogs, military dogs don’t live with their handlers, and their handlers change more often because sailors don’t usually stay at one base for long. The dogs are retired when they’re physically unable to perform or, like people, when they get tired of working, Tetreault said.

The civilian leash represents a dog’s working days are over and he can go home and be a dog.

“He was much more than a dog,” said Chief Amanda Cooper of Naval Base Kitsap Security, the master of ceremonies. “He was a friend and companion who put his life on the line to protect others. Military Working Dog Benny, you stand relieved. We have the watch.”

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Mike DeBock, left, and Allan Tetreault visit while military service dog Benny finishes up his retirement cake Tuesday at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. DeBock was Benny’s first handler at Bangor, and Tetreault his last. Benny is retiring after 11 years and has been adopted by a horse ranch owner in Illinois. (Steve Zugschwerdt | For the Kitsap Sun)

This story was found here: Benny Retires

6 Responses to “Navy Brass Salutes One of Kitsap’s Top Dogs”

  1. I am adopting Benny and I promise he will have a great life doing , basically, whatever he wants! He has earned the right to have a Club Met retirement and that’s what I will strive to give him. If any of his former handlers, etc, would like to visit him or pictures, please, just e-mail my web site above.
    I want to thank all of you for your servie and adopting Benny and giving him a luxury retirement is my way of saying “Thank you” to all of you.

  2. The correct URL if you are interested in adopting a Military Working Dog is
    http://www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com

  3. Benny is doing wonderful adjusting to civilian life! He has met the horses and looked a bit surprised at them but handled it like the grand old gentleman he is. He has this air of “been there, done that” and not much ruffles him. He handles all the change with a very dignified air, he is a special guy! By the way, he sniffed all over , I think the hose manure had him a bit confused ! He is a wonderful dog and I think he must have recieved love in order for him to give it so freely.
    I want to also thank Debbie Kandoll , who is responsible for the legislation that made this adoption possible, and her organization http://www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com , without who Benny would not have the retirement he does.
    I also want to thank all the people who are serving. Over the years, I have heard may stories of the grief the handlers felt when their dogs where decommissioned and put down because adoption was not an option.
    Thanks to Debbie this will never happen as long as homes can be found, and they will always be found, and it’s just another way to thank all of you who serve.

    • Claudia, thank you so much for giving Benny such a wonderful home. It sounds like you gave him a great home to spend the rest of his years. Thank you for sharing this, be sure to keep us updated on how he is doing and the impact adopting him makes.

  4. Benny is doing FANTASTIC! He has not worn a leash in weeks- he goes out several times a day with me to feed and do chores and is such a happy dog! He has “his” toys, the favorite being the big ball that the horses used to have (in true military fashion- he has appropiated it!).
    When he arrived , he realized I was a civilian so he would give me a “wise guy” look and then do his own thing, so his nickname became “Bennyhaha”, I would call Benny and he would laugh- so it seemed appropiate. . He has figured out that this is pretty cool- he has his own maid and ear scratcher-and is very good – also his own cook- he has home made chicken and rice every day and his stomach has settled quite well on that diet.
    He is a great dog! He has become very attached and loves to go ahead of me to do chores, loves the routine and has his “special” things- like drinking really cold well water from the hose after horses are watered, that are routine and he really enjoys. Benny has decided that sticking around me is pretty cool and never needs a leash- he has 10 acres to run in and never strays. On hot days, if I’m out longer than he wants to be , he will go lay on the porch and wait- sometimes looks at me with this- “excuse me- maid service!” look in his eyes. He has a “brother” named Brutus, a GSD, and the two get along great.
    I wanted you all to know he is doing very well and he is a fun dog- his laughing, wise guy eyes, are so much fun- and he is such a wise old soul!
    Thank you for the opportunity to take care of him and give him the “Club Med” treatement and serve him as he served all of us.

  5. Hello my name is Shannon Bragg and i was just so excited to see Big B adopted by a loving and careing person, he deserves to just be a dog and enjoy the remainder of his life free of stress. I miss him alot. I was one of Benny’s handlers from June 2003-2006 while stationed at Naval Base Kitsap. He was by far one of the best MWD’s that I have worked with. I have been in the dog program for eight years and am currently stationed in San Diego CA at the Deployable dog kennel there. Benny was my third dog that i had ever worked and one of the best, what we like to call push button, had a mind of his own you never really had to tell him things more than once.

    Benny and i were deployed together to Mosul Iraq in 2005 for seven month’s. Believe me when I tell you that was quite interesting for the both of us. I believe that was both of our first deployments together to the Middle East. I have never been so happy to see him than now. I have been saying he should have been retired for the past two years, “it’s about time”. Please give B dizzle a big hug for me and do keep me posted of his life experiences.

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