Archive for the fallen handlers Category

Military Working Dog Lex Video-Interview with Cpl Lee’s Parents

Posted in fallen handlers, Marine dog teams, Military stories, military working dog handlers, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by wardogmarine

Here is a fantastic interview with fallen Marine Corps military working dog handler Cpl Dustin Lee’s parents.  The Lee’s were allowed to adopt their son’s military working dog Lex after he gave the ultimate price while serving in Iraq, the first time a family of a fallen handler was allowed to adopt their surviving military working dog. MWD Lex was injured and even received a purple heart while serving with Cpl Lee in Iraq. This video is very touching and it is great to see both Lex and the Lee family enjoying their life together. MWD Lex is a very special dog, I wish him and the Lee family all the best. Semper Fidelis

Military Working Dog Lex, Patriot Pet Interview- Army AirForce Exchange Video- Pentagon TV ©AAFES 2009


R.I.P.: Roy, the Petaluma police dog

Posted in fallen dogs, police dog teams, police dogs, retired dogs with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine


Petaluma’s acclaimed police dog, Roy, died last weekend, leaving a legacy of city service and a reputation as an award-winning law enforcement canine.

The 14-year-old Belgian Malinois “retired” from service in January 2007 after eight years and continued living with his handler, Officer Paul Accornero.
Petaluma’s acclaimed police dog, Roy, died last weekend.

The death has been a blow to officers, said Sgt. Mark Hunter, who supervises the department’s two dog teams.

“It’s a part of your family and it’s a co-worker,” Hunter said. “It’s a great loss for us all.”

The police department bought Roy in spring 1999 and Accornero trained him for narcotics work, patrol duty and countless good-will sessions at schools and community gatherings.

Roy was a friendly police ambassador but also a serious tracker of lost people, hiding suspects and stashed narcotics. Officers appreciated the extra protection he offered.

Hunter said Roy helped arrest more than 120 suspects and seize more than $313,000 in illegal drugs and $155,000 in drug money.

Roy also built an impressive reputation in police dog competitions. He earned 103 awards over the years, including several “Top Dog” awards at California competitions. He and Accornero won gold medals in the 2001 World Police and Fire Games in Indiana, the 2001 California Police Summer Games and the 2004 California Police Summer Games, Hunter said.

In his final year working for the department, Roy won the “Top Dog” award in the narcotics division in the 2006 trial season competition for the Western States Police Canine Association.

“He was not just known on a local level. He was very well known throughout the (law enforcement) canine community,” Hunter said.

Petaluma currently has two police dogs, Rico and Kilo. They are two of about 20 police dogs working in Sonoma County.

Article found here: The Press Democrat

Ceremony recognizes military working dog’s contributions, achievements

Posted in Army Dog teams, fallen dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by wardogmarine

By: Spc. Howard Alperin, MND-B PAO.

BAGHDAD – Military working dog teams from throughout Victory Base Complex came out April 13 for a ceremony at the division chapel to honor one of their own. Kevin, a military working dog, passed away due to complications from cancer. His death was unexpected and left the other half of his team, Staff Sgt. Aaron Meier, in limbo and in mourning.
A memorial tribute honors a fallen comrade April 13 at Camp Liberty. “Military working dogs are an important part of the military team and sometimes they are taken for granted,” said Lt. Col. Barbara Sherer, from Springfield, Mo., 1st Cav. Div. chaplain. “It is appropriate to honor their service.”

While in theater, military working dogs are not replaced, so Meier will be reassigned to other duties for the remainder of his deployment. As Meier now turns his attention to new job responsibilities, most of his focus still remains on the loyal partner and friend he lost.

“Kevin was the highlight of my day,” said Meier, a military dog handler, from Fairmont, Minn., assigned to Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Jasper, kennel master for Camp Liberty, attached to DSTB, 1st Cav. Div., addresses Soldiers at a ceremony to celebrate the life of one of their own, April 13, at Camp Liberty.  “We consider the military working dogs to be Soldiers too,” said Jasper, from Everett, Wash.  Jasper read the poem, ‘I wait by the gate,’ in honor of Kevin.

For more than four years, Meier and Kevin built an excellent working relationship together. “Kevin was a great patrol explosive detector dog,” said Meier. “I could flip his on and off switch easily because of all the training we did together.”

During their course of working together, the relationship developed further and formed a powerful, personal bond between them. “I was planning on adopting Kevin after this deployment,” said Meier. “This was his last time deploying because of his age.”
Staff Sgt. Aaron Meier, a military dog handler, sits somberly during a ceremony highlighting the life of his deceased partner, Kevin, April 13 at Camp Liberty. “Kevin was my buddy.  He was affectionate, very protective and an excellent worker,” said Meier, from Fairmont, Minn., assigned to Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.

Though he never got to adopt him, Meier and Kevin still had many unforgettable moments together. “I pampered him a lot because a happy dog works better.” Meier recalled the first time he gave Kevin a pillow to rest his head when they were together in a hotel preparing for a Secret Service mission. “Kevin had many human characteristics,” Meier added.

Kevin’s traits will always stick out in the minds of those who knew him. “He was very protective of Sgt. Meier,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Jasper, kennel master at Camp Liberty, DSTB, 1st Cav. Div. “Besides being a great detection and patrol dog, he was good for law enforcement purposes.”

As one of the first dogs to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kevin’s achievements were acknowledged during the ceremony. There were poems read in his honor, Taps was played by a 1st Cav. Div. trumpeter and military working dog teams left snacks in Kevin’s bowl as a tribute to his service. “It is appropriate to honor their service,” said Lt. Col. Barbara Sherer, from Springfield, Mo., 1st Cav. Div. command chaplain and co-coordinator of the ceremony. “Military working dogs are an important part of the military team and sometimes they are taken for granted.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Staff Sgt. Jasper, “We consider dogs to be Soldiers too, they are constantly working.” The ceremony gives credit to all the dogs and all the work they do here and in the United States, he added.
Soldiers and their military working dog partners take time to pray in honor of Kevin, a military dog who succumbed to cancer.  “It was a good memorial, they don’t happen often for the dogs,” said Sgt. Matt McCummins, a military dog handler, attached to DSTB, 1st Cav. Div.

Military working dog teams are called upon often to perform their duties, so there is rarely a chance for teams from the different camps to see each other. Kevin afforded each team the opportunity to see in each other more of the common ground they share.

As Kevin’s life, the attachment Meier had with him and the work they accomplished together were celebrated, new bonds formed among the Soldiers. They realized more the value of their military working dog teams and appreciated the chance for one of their own to be recognized.
This article found here: MWD Kevin Article

Fort Huachuca honors military working dog SSgt Britt

Posted in Army Dog teams, fallen dogs, Tribute Videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by wardogmarine

Britt, military working dog, earns last rites befitting hero
Arizona Daily Star ^ | Carol Ann Alaimo 

Britt the bomb-sniffing dog, who served overseas in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, will get a funeral befitting a hero at Fort Huachuca. The ashes of the Army canine, recently put down due to neurological illness, will be interred behind the kennels that served as his home base as a military color guard looks on.

The 11-year-old German shepherd was euthanized on Sept. 11 and will be buried Dec. 3 at the Southern Arizona Army post.

Following tradition, taps will be played and a flag folded and presented to Sgt. Megan Hobson, Britt’s last handler.

“We lost a fallen comrade,” said Hobson, 24, a Utah native serving with the fort’s 18th Military Police Detachment.

“He may have been a piece of Army equipment, but I loved that dog,” said Hobson, who was with Britt when he died.

The German shepherd held the rank of staff sergeant — military dogs always outrank their handlers by one stripe, to discourage ill treatment of a superior. He had several Army medals to his credit and had worked as an explosives detector dog since 1999.

Overseas, he took part in numerous missions that likely saved lives, officials said. On patrol in Iraq, he unearthed weapons caches and makeshift bombs, and even collared an insurgent by chasing him down.

Hobson, Britt’s handler for three months, arranged for the canine to spend his final days in the Huachuca Mountains doing his favorite things.

“They let me have a couple days with him where he was just a dog, he didn’t have to work,” she recalled.

She bought him doggie delicacies — sirloin steak with mashed potatoes from a Texas Roadhouse restaurant — and they played fetch with his favorite squeaky toy.

Britt had a reputation for nipping people — “love bites” as the handlers call them — but Hobson, a rarity as a female handler, said she never saw that side of him. “I think he needed a woman in his life,” she said.

Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton said the fanfare at an Army dog’s funeral is not quite the same as honors rendered for a human.

Still, she said in a statement, the service aims to pay respects to “a different kind of soldier.”

“Britt served his country with loyalty and distinction,” she said.
● Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or at

Military Working Dog Hero Lex in a Veterans Day Parade

Posted in fallen handlers, Marine dog teams, Military Working Dogs, Miscellaneous, retired dogs, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by wardogmarine

If you have not read or heard about the Marine military working dog handler Cpl Dustin Lee and his mwd Lex then check them out. Cpl Lee was killed in action during the War on Terror but his mwd Lex survived and has been adopted by Cpl Lee’s family. This is video of Lex in a Veterans Day Parade in Phoenix from this past month.  

Heroic dog remembered after serving 10 years

Posted in fallen dogs, Military Working Dogs, Miscellaneous, police dog teams, police dogs, Various Teams, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2008 by wardogmarine



By Dennis Yohnka 
The Daily Journal correspondent in Illinois

Lorraine Spaeth tried her best to prepare for Monday. The sunless, rainy weather seemed perfect for the task at hand. She wanted to say goodbye with compassion, but hoped to avoid the overflow of emotion that some consider wasted on animals.

This day would mark her last hours with her dog, Kelsey. And her first hours of adjusting to life without her. They weren’t just companions. They were co-workers, partners for 10 years.    As longtime members of the Manteno Fire Department and the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department Canine Search Team, it was Lorraine and Kelsey’s duty to help bring closure to families with missing loved ones. The 13-year-old German shepherd made three “live finds” in her career, but her specialty was locating the lifeless bodies that stymied police investigations.

Monday, the process of closure began for Kelsey.

Spaeth, her veterinarian and a few friends said their last goodbyes, before this honored public servant was euthanized. Her body was taken for cremation at the Wolfe Whispering Winds pet crematory in Chebanse. Services there were donated out of respect for Kelsey’s service.

Kelsey shows her love for kittens.(photo courtesy of The Daily Journal)

On Tuesday, the ashes were spread in a private location where Kelsey once trained and played. Yes, even working dogs have some time for play.

“She was great on the job, but she was just as good as a companion,” Lorraine said. “She had cancer four years ago and we got her through that. She didn’t work much toward the end. She was more of my lap dog then.”

Kelsey started having seizures earlier this year; and as they became more commonplace and more stressful for the dog, the decision was made to end her fear and discomfort.

Lorraine described Kelsey as a good traveler, and they took on missing persons cases in Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin, as well as Illinois. Kelsey was responsible for the discovery of 10 bodies in the Kankakee area. But Lorraine is more comfortable recalling the living subjects.

“There was a fugitive once in a cornfield. I didn’t know it, but Kelsey did. She started barking and wanting to go in the field,” Lorraine said. “I shouted out that the man had better come out or I was going to send the dog in — and that ‘cornfield’ started talking back to me right away.”

It was more often the case that Kelsey led her human friends to the remains of bodies, sometimes little more than the bones. Since her purchase from a Monee kennel, “The Kaiser’s Miss Kelsey Storm” (that’s her given name) was trained just for this sort of work.

In fact, her reputation was such that New York City officials requested Kelsey’s help in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She couldn’t make the trip, though. Lorraine was recovering from knee surgery at the time and couldn’t handle the duty.

“I guess I really sheltered her a lot,” Lorraine said of her friend. “I kept her away from the press. I didn’t want her distracted on the job. I didn’t let kids pet her if she was working. But I really think she was happy. She had a good life.”

Lorraine has retired from the Manteno Fire Department, but she is still active with the sheriff’s department team. After the private funeral services Monday afternoon, she expected to get back to training her fourth dog.

“There are just two important things that I want people to know about Kelsey,” Lorraine said outside the Manteno Fire Department offices. “They should know that we were part of a search team and that team goes on. Those volunteers are still out there. Still nonprofit. Still ready to serve.

“And the second thing is the appreciation I feel for Rod Wolfe (and the staff at the pet crematory). They donated their services out of respect for Kelsey’s service and I just think that’s very nice.”

With a steady shower still falling outside, Lorraine took time to go through some photos of her dog. And she remembered the more tender moments.

“We had a case — I think it was out by Limestone,” she said. “Kelsey came back from the field with a stray kitten and took it to the Red Cross tent. And then she went back to work.

“She always had a thing for kittens. She could take or leave dogs, but she loved kittens.”

Tribute Video to Military Working Dog Mike

Posted in Army Dog teams, fallen handlers, Military Working Dogs, Tribute Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2008 by wardogmarine

Sgt. Michelle Colon, a soldier with 209th MP Detatchment in Fort Benning, GA, had the unfortunate circumstance of losing her MWD(military working dog) Mike this past summer. Her “battle buddy” Sgt. Tabitha Pindell, stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska 28th MP detachment, made this great tribute video for Sgt Colon and MWD Mike who were deployed to Camp Bucca , Iraq. 

Handlers become so attached to their dogs that they will often  make various tributes to them such as paintings, a collage, a shadowbox, and a video like the one below. Losing an MWD is more than just losing an effective weapon or tool, it like losing another brave soldier. You see them everyday, the dogs have personalities, and they bring overall morale up with the soldiers. MWD Mike had a final rank of Staff Sergeant because his handler’s rank is Sergeant. Handlers give their dogs one rank higher than themselves so that they always treat them with respect. His ID number is K494 meaning that number is tattooed inside one of his ears, it is like the dog’s own social security number in the military. This particular MWD is a fantastic looking dog. It is a Belgain Malinois, not a Shepherd. Rest easy Mike, your work here is done.  

SSG Mike K494
April 2005-June 2008