Veterans

April 4, 2014

Retired K9 finds peace with veteran family

Tags:
Gustavo Bahena
Public Affairs Office NTC and Fort Irwin

Max, a retired military working dog, was given a certificate, medal and doggie toys by the War Dogs Association Chapter 1-Western Region, a non-profit that supports handlers and adopters of retired military working dogs. Angela and Thomas Boggs (rear) adopted the Belgian Malinois after he was retired from service that spanned from 2006 to 2013. Max is flanked by Fort Irwin, Calif., United States Army Garrison Commander Col. Jon Braga (left) and Sgt. Maj. Carlos Esmurria, U.S. Army Garrison senior enlisted adviser, during a commander’s call at Fort Irwin, in February.

For the Bogg’s family, there was no doubt they would open their home to a retired combat veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thomas and Angela Boggs welcomed Max, a 10-year-old retired military working dog, into their home on Fort Irwin, after adopting the Belgian Malinois, Oct. 23. Max’s days of supporting the law enforcement mission here had just ended. Max served this military installation beginning in 2006 and deployed to Afghanistan that same year while attached to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). An explosion injured the dog’s shoulders and left, hind quarter. Max was treated at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and returned to serve here, in 2007.

Last year, Tom, who is the Physical Security and Crime Prevention Officer here, was informed that the canine’s best years as a bite and narcotics dog were behind him.

“It was time,” Tom said about Max retiring. “His bite wasn’t what it used to be. He wasn’t aggressive like he used to be. So, he was (ready) for retirement.”

Tom explained that military working dogs are trained to be bite dogs and are taught a secondary role, sniffing out explosives or narcotics. Angela, who previously trained German Shepherd dogs in Germany, stated that Max’s bite was at 85 percent. Max was still active duty, but was not being utilized as much, and spent a lot of time in the military working dog kennels here. The Boggs immediately knew they wanted Max, so Angela headed to the kennel to meet and hopefully connect with the black and gold-colored canine.

“The story is that she took steak and chicken over there to him, to bond with him,” Tom reminisced with a chuckle. “Wait a minute, he’s getting steak and chicken, what about me? I know where my stature is in this household.”

Angela Boggs holds the extended paw of Max, a retired military working dog that Angela and her husband, Thomas, adopted on Fort Irwin, Calif., in October 2013

Max took to Angela immediately.

“He’s my shadow,” Angela said. “Wherever I go, he follows.”

Since the adoption, Tom has described Max as a laid back,
old dog done with work. Max has put on some weight, increasing to 122 pounds from 88 in October, said Tom. Max does a lot of sleeping during the day and stays at the Bogg’s feet when they watch TV in the evenings. The retired pooch has a calm disposition and rarely barks.

“He hasn’t shown any aggression toward anybody,” Tom said. “We’ve heard him bark twice since we’ve had him. That’s it. He doesn’t bark. He’s retired.”

Tom believes retired military working dogs should be adopted after their duty has been completed, and a Department of Defense program at JBSA-Lackland allows civilians to do just that. Tom, who is also a retired Army veteran and Purple Heart (three times) recipient from service in Vietnam, describes Max’s career as being similar to Soldiers, who have performed an invaluable service to the United States. Tom served as a cavalry scout with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, and handled military dogs. He saw firsthand the contributions of military dogs to Soldiers.

“How many Soldiers have our canines — who we have working for the military — saved?” Tom asked. “And we’re going to put them down, because we have no use for them anymore? Wait a minute — adopt them out. They’re just old. They’re old dogs looking for a place to go, to be treated like a dog, a pet, and be part of a family. That’s all they want. So, why not give it to them.”

Angela explained that Max has PTSD. She soothes Max and is able to put the dog at ease as he lies down. And while Max loves to lounge around, the big dog also enjoys an assortment of toys at home.

“They deserve to have a good remainder of their lives,” Tom said about retired canines. “They deserve that. They protected Soldiers from a lot of things. They put up with a lot of stuff that we, as human beings, would not put up with.”

The majority of the 2,500 working dogs who serve in the military are raised and trained at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog program at JBSA-Lackland, said Coleen McGee, director of public affairs with the 37th Training Wing at JBSA-Lackland.
She explained that about 900 are on station, and approximately 500-600 dogs are deployed. The program breeds 100 puppies per year and acquires another 130 per quarter from Europe.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Legal counsel helps Soldiers with Integrated Disability Evaluation System

Soldiers undergoing a medical evaluation board sometimes feel lost and confused with the significant decisions they have to make that will affect their military careers and the rest of their lives. The Office of Soldiers’ Counsel is the Army’s team of qualified and trained attorneys and paralegals who assist Soldiers in the Integrated Disability Evaluation...
 
 
JAG_seal

The power to contract – use it wisely

The basic memorialization or record of any business transaction is a contract. More often than not, this contract is the only evidence of any relationship between the parties to the transaction. Whether you are purchasing somet...
 
 
Convoy_brief

NTC trainers prepare units for success on battle fields of today, tomorrow

Staff Sgt. Marcus McCormick, of the 289th Quartermaster Company, provides a convoy its mission brief Aug. 20 during a morning supply mission.   The training that rotational units receive here can be brutal – challenging ...
 

 
Gustavo Bahena

Department of Defense official views training area

Gustavo Bahena National Training Center and Fort Irwin Commander Maj. Gen. Ted Martin motions while speaking with Jamie Morin, director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation for the Department of Defense. The director of Co...
 
 
Photo by Capt. Jessica Cook

Women combat isolation with mentorship

Photo by Capt. Jessica Cook Sgt. Meriem Ettioutioui (right), 51st Translator and Interpreter Company, talks with Spc. Farida Alvi and Spc. Maryam Mahfeli, also with 51st TICO, about her deployment experience in 2013. The tough ...
 
 
Gustavo Bahena

IMCOM command sergeant major visits Fort Irwin

Gustavo Bahena Fort Irwin USAG Commander Col. Jon Braga points to an illustration of the installation’s future new hospital while speaking with Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hartless, of United States Army Installation Management...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin