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The Nation Honors Its Military Dogs

December 11, 2013

Delray Beach, Florida, resident Lois Pope is widely known for her philanthropic work designed to improve the lives of both humans and animals worldwide. Through The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., she has made numerous contributions of funds and time to causes such as the American Humane Association and an organization focused on creating a memorial for military veterans with disabilities. Her foundation recently hosted a South Florida appearance by military working dog Gabe, winner of the AHA’s 2012 Hero Dog Award. Gabe was accompanied by his trainer, Sergeant First Class Charles Shuck.

Gabe exemplifies the vital role military dogs have played in peacekeeping operations for generations. When the U.S. Army rescued him from a Houston animal shelter, the dog did not even understand how to respond to the command “sit.” Yet after extensive training with Sgt. Shuck, Gabe became a star pupil, whose service in Iraq included detecting car bombs at traffic checkpoints.

In their year together in Iraq, Sgt. Shuck and Gabe completed more than 200 missions, with Gabe responsible for 26 “finds” of explosive devices, the most of any dog in that theater. Sadly, Gabe passed away in February 2013, with Sgt. Shuck at his side. He leaves behind a legacy of community service and public education work dating from his retirement in 2009.

Lucca, whose leg was amputated after explosives destroyed her left paw, is another canine hero. Recently honored by the U.S. Marine Corps in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Lucca risked her life to locate improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, saving countless lives before nearly losing her own. Today, she travels the country as an ambassador for the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument. The memorial is scheduled to find a permanent home in Texas by the end of 2013.

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From → Lois Pope

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