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What is the role of a military working dog?
The military working dogs are great partners and assets to protecting military bases as well as worldwide support in a conflict of war. These dogs serve to save lives, and they deserve to be remembered as well as enjoy their retirement. These dogs live for the work and do not know how to be just a dog, some dedicate their whole lives to the military and some are broken in the process. So when we as handlers are afforded the opportunity to adopt our prior MWDs it is a very incredible experience because we want nothing more but to honor them and the service that they dedicated their life too.
What was the relationship like when you became Bbutler’s handler?
When we were newly assigned as a team I felt like we bonded immediately. We built a strong rapport that turned into a lifelong friendship.
How long did you serve together?
We served together from the end of 2015 to July 2017 in Okinawa, Japan.
What are some memorable times you had together?
We had numerous calls and finds together as a dog team. Our adventures exploring the island included finding waterfalls near the kennels as well as countless trips to the beach. We have met multiple famous individuals who mostly wanted to “pet my dog” and so many demonstrations for the local community. We pretty much were the demo dog team considering Bbutler was awesome at patrol work. My most memorable time working together was flying in a helicopter which was a first experience for both of us. We flew on the bird for about two hours to land on the [Marine Expeditionary Unit] which we had to search the [Bonhomme Richard] and stay on it until it ported.
How would you describe working with Bbutler?
Working with Bbutler was my highlight in Okinawa. Not having a car or family really helped us connect. Even on my off days, I would go to the kennels just to hang out with him. Having this dog that was my responsibility made me want to be a better Marine. I had more to lose than other Marines, and I wanted to not only treat him as a partner but as a friend.
When you heard Bbutler was being retired, what was your reaction?
When I left Okinawa, I left my adoption papers for when the time came for him to retire. Once I heard he was retiring in May of 2020, I was excited. His health is degrading and he is not the same energetic dog anymore but I would constantly receive pictures keeping me posted with his well-being.
Was there any issues when you wanted to bring Bbutler home?
There were some issues getting him back to the states. With his health it was pretty much impossible for him to fly cargo. Bbutler needed an escort on that long journey to have his medication administered. He has an autoimmune disease and I got the dreadful phone call
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Dog That’s what I do I fly and I know thing poster
that he was going to need a blood transfusion. He pulled through, and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the restrictions were at an all-time high. I got very discouraged that I might not ever see him again. A non-profit organization strictly for reuniting handlers with dogs was able to help. They got Bbutler back to the states and drove him personally across the country to my house here in Havelock, N.C.