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Tue, Jul 8 | By Joey Wahler | 90

COLTS NECK, N.J. – A Navy working dog is the recipient of a rare honor for his contribution to the War On Terror, after overcoming the many obstacles that combat dogs face in Afghanistan. “Renato,” a 6-year-old German Shepherd, and… more ›

Combat Dog Gains 'Fame' for Afghan War Effort
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Lisa S.
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Lisa S.
5 years ago

Good for them. That dog's a hero!

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maria h.
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maria h.
5 years ago

Dogs are such wonderful,smart,lovable creatures. They will tirelessly work for us.Hope Renato had foot coverings for traversing the hot sand.Congratulations to Renato and John for a job well done.

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Heather E.
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Heather E.
5 years ago

Great story. I am glad they are being honored. It is nice to see the special bond between the dog and his handler.

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Dstrykr
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Dstrykr
5 years ago

Way to go Renato and John

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Jessica T.
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Jessica T.
5 years ago

This is a really awesome story. It is great to see the bond between dog and handler, and I am so glad that our military has welcomed K-9 units and recongnized them as an important and worthy team.

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Anne S.
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Anne S.
5 years ago

Great story! It is so wonderful that we now give credit to both handler and dog in war situations as they both deserve to be heroes. Unlike years ago when the dogs were not allowed to return to the states with their handler and met a most unjust fate.

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Nancy  B.
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Nancy B.
5 years ago

Good story. Hats off to dog and handler.

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Edward Robin
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Edward Robin
5 years ago

Great story! Keep up the good work Renato and Mr. Washington!

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Michaelyn
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Michaelyn
5 years ago

Good going!

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Cindy
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Cindy
5 years ago

<span>this comment has been removed from the system</span>

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Kazza9988
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Kazza9988
5 years ago

What a great story! I hope all military dogs are honored and appreciated. This is just another example of how dogs live for humans and do it happily.

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Veronica (Ronnie) G.
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Veronica (Ronnie) G.
5 years ago

True, the military dogs are the first line of defense...and targeted! They save so many lives!!! They should be honored...all-of-them.

I hope all the military dog handlers take as good care and LOVE, as Renato's "Dad!" And it must be so hard for them to part when the soldier's time of duty is up and he/she goes home.

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Elineen
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Elineen
5 years ago

This is excellent!

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Kate H.
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Kate H.
5 years ago

I love it.

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beverly y.
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beverly y.
5 years ago

wonderful story

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Kate H.
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Kate H.
5 years ago

Great job. He is an American Hero.

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Mary W.
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Mary W.
5 years ago

Dogs are mankind's best friend. Dogs rule.

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Kathy F.
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Kathy F.
5 years ago

I love the dogs in these stories. People need to see dogs are more then just family pets in a time of need. Glad to see his owner loves him and respects him too.

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Julie H.
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Julie H.
5 years ago

I love this story. The dogs involved in the war effort should recieve more credit for the heroic work they do. Kathleen H. how did they treat dogs in Vietnam? And if it was that bad I hope they are doing a better job of caring for them.

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Kathleen H.
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Kathleen H.
5 years ago

I had the opportunity to meet John C. Burnam, author of A Soldier's Best Friend, a few years ago. How the military treated dogs in Vietnam is just disgraceful. I'm hoping that they will do a better job with the K-9s involved in this war. It seems like they are on the right path.

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Sydney  S.
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Sydney S.
6 years ago

This was a great story.

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Dksmommie
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Dksmommie
6 years ago

Wonderful story!!!

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MaxxieBrown
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MaxxieBrown
6 years ago

Great story. I love to watch the training of military and police dogs. It's remarkable to see what an animal will do to protect it' trainer.

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Patricia  C.
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Patricia C.
6 years ago

This dog is a real hero! Congratulations and keep up the good work. We as Americans are very proud of you!!!

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Julie Kay S.
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Julie Kay S.
6 years ago

For those who'd like to know more about the dogs that were left behind (about 2,800, compared with just 200 that came home):

The book is titled: Leaving Jack, by Gareth Crocker, and published by Robert Hale Publishers, May 2008.

www.halebooks.com/display.asp?K=9780709085140&pge=hale&sf5=lcode&st5=not+67351&st1=Gareth+Crocker&sf1=contributor&st2=Leaving+Jack&sf2=title_index&sf3=identifier&sf4=keyword&m=1&dc=1

Author website: www.garethcrocker.com/media.htm

Crocker stumbled across the story of the Vietnam War dogs while visiting the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington several years ago.

"I was standing next to a Vietnam veteran, in full military gear, when I noticed he had come to place a dog harness at the foot of the wall. Recognising this was a profoundly personal moment for the man, I stood quietly beside him for a few minutes, before politely enquiring about the harness. He replied that he was forced to leave his German Shepherd behind in Vietnam at the end of the war, despite the fact that his dog had saved his platoon from trip wires linked to mines on three separate occasions," Crocker explains.

"He then took me through the basic story of the Vietnam War Dogs and when he was done, he wept openly. He cried like a man who had just lost his child. And this, almost 30 years after the incident. I remember being extremely moved by the man's utter despair at the loss of his dog and decided then that I would write a book as a tribute to the dogs."

Also, please visit www.war-dogs.com

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Ronatha
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Ronatha
6 years ago

I have read stories like this before and appreciate you telling one here. These stories are common in units that had dogs in the war and I can't help but weep myself over the guilt they must feel because they had no choice but leave them behind. These soldiers loved this dogs--they were the ultimate soldiers themselves and saved countless lives.

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VietnamJack01
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VietnamJack01
6 years ago

Hi Julie,

Thanks so much for directing me to Gareth Crocker's novel, Leaving Jack. It has to be the best book I have ever read. It was so emotional and uplifting that I simply can't stop thinking about it.

Oh ... I should perhaps point out that I am Gareth Crocker, the author of the book...

Sorry Julie, just having a bit of fun! My publicist sent this posting to me and I just wanted to thank you for your comments. I believe the story of the Vietnam War dogs is probably the most important animal story of our generation.

I hope anyone who reads Leaving Jack enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Take care.

In Dog we Trust,
Gareth Crocker.


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Julie Kay S.
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Julie Kay S.
6 years ago

Gareth, you are a card! That's meant in the most complimentary way. I've a feeling that readers of Leaving Jack will all need hankies (as they should) and can't wait until I join their numbers!

Julie and Wiggles

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betty p.
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betty p.
6 years ago

I am glad that Renato is honored. It is a tough job to be a working dog. But it is also one that these dogs need to be. They are usually the high energy out of control for a normal home life.

I know this first hand. We had a lab at our shelter who even with training at our prison program, he was out of control. He was always turned on. He was so full of energy, nobody wanted him. So lab rescue took him in and they found somebody who would be able to train him to be a working dog. He became a bomb sniffing dog and is serving time overseas. He has saved his unit three times with some major finds.

It does upset me that the dog is overseas and could get killed. But here in there was not a home for him. I really believe dogs like these were put here to protect and serve.

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Stephanie W.
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Stephanie W.
6 years ago

I love stuff like this. My husband is military and he says the K9's over there are really amazing.

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parker e.
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parker e.
6 years ago

i love this story

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L S.
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L S.
6 years ago

The dog is serving our country. I am very proud of him and all of our troops! They all deserve fame!!!

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Julie
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Julie
6 years ago

This dog deserves his fame. He puts his life on the line for us, just as his human companions do. I do not support this war but I support the men and women who are fighting for me and our country. May God watch over all of them and bring them home safe.

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Kim H.
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Kim H.
6 years ago

Wow, awesome dog, shows how smart dogs are, and how so many people think of them as just a "Dumb Dog" I think they outsmart all of us, :) I am glad they recognized this dog as a hero also. Awesome.

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Ronatha
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Ronatha
6 years ago

I like the idea of letting experienced civilians adopt these dogs if their personality allows. We adopted our wonderful Belgain Malinois from the military (air force) --gosh I guess its closer now to 2 years ago! She was injured during her second training (was already detection trained--this was for patrol) and had to be pulled from the program. These working dogs are INTENSE and must have a job! We took her and had her get the knee surgery and stem cell injections (worked great!!) for partial cruciate tears in both knees. She has gone through the recovery period and is good as new now! She is not a dog for everyone as Belgian Malinois have tremendous drive and need to be doing something all the time with her body and her brain. we adore her and she is so happy to be in our home and part of a family. I actually think it's a blessing she got injured so she didn't have to go to the middle east.

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Sarah B.
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Sarah B.
6 years ago

Awww. I am so glad that Renato has such a caring & devoted handler like John. They are partners but also companions to each other during down times! I hope Renato has time to relax & be a dog too. The are 2 soldiers that deserve the honors!

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Absit
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Absit
6 years ago

its great that this dog is getting honored it sounds like it worked hard and did its job

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dawn  h.
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dawn h.
6 years ago

This soldier sounds like he truely cares for and loves his four-legged companion. I think our animals play really important roles in our lives, even if you are not an animal lover, you can't deny the honor that these military should receive.

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sharon d.
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sharon d.
6 years ago

It's been going on for years,our animals in working positions,whether it be military ,helping the blind,sniffing drugs at the airport,etc,but it seems only recently that these animals are truly getting the recognition and quality care that they deserve,for putting their lives out there on the line,daily.
Every working dog story makes my chest swell in pride and honor for these heroic and beautiful animals. They deserve the best to begin with,and even more so for the heroic things that they accomplish to keep us humans safe.
I salute them all.

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Karen B.
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Karen B.
6 years ago

What an awesome story, and what a lucky soldier, if I had to be over seas fighting in the war, I would love to have a dog with me.

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Jessica H.
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Jessica H.
6 years ago

its good that the dog is getting honored

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Jessica H.
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Jessica H.
6 years ago

What a great story. I'm glad they were honored for their service and the sacrifices they've made for our freedom. May God bless them both!

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Jami A.
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Jami A.
6 years ago

What a great story; I am glad that they were honored and recognized for their work.

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Tara W.
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Tara W.
6 years ago

The unsung heroes, are military dogs. Great article, warms the heart

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Kara S.
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Kara S.
6 years ago

I was glad to read this article! I have always had a fascination for the police dogs, search and rescue, etc. Guess I really didn't know that the Military used working dogs! What a GREAT article!

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sheila f.
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sheila f.
6 years ago

Great job Renato and MA1 Washington. It is so good to hear something positive being said about the military. You are true heroes. This is a feel good story. Kudos.

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patty
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patty
6 years ago

Congratulations MA1 John Washington and MWD Renato! You are heroes! Thank you! Glad to hear the Renato is his partner both on and off the job..

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Carly T.
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Carly T.
6 years ago

What a great story!!

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Kadiquilts
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Kadiquilts
6 years ago

Congratulations on a job well done Renato & Washington.......I hope you do not get called back to Afghanistan. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven for you two!

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Julie Kay S.
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Julie Kay S.
6 years ago

ZooToo Article Crew: PLEASE, spell out things before referring to them as acronyms! I visited www.acronymfinder.com in order to learn what the three acronmys referenced in the article -- but never explained -- meant.

CPO - Chief Petty Officer (U.S. Navy)

MA1 - Master at Arms First Class (Navy rating)

MWD - Military Working Dog

Okay, now that all ZooTooers know what the acronyms mean: I'm very glad that John Washington and Renato are home, safe and sound, and hope that they are never separated and that Renato gets to live out his days at John Washington's side.

My feelings about dogs in the military are colored by what happened to military dogs in Vietnam. The vast majority of them were NOT brought home. The vast majority were left behind, KILLED. Like the number of Prisoners-of-War (POWs) and Missing-in-Action (MIAs) that were left behind, even though there was clear and compelling evidence of their being alive (see the books "Soldiers of Misfortune" and "Kiss the Boys Goodbye," for starters).

I'm relieved that this dog and his handler are back on home soil. I hope that this special dog AND his handler can fit back into normal lives here in America.

My memory, however, will never leave behind those gallant dogs that saved so many of our soldiers in Vietnam, and were "thanked" for their efforts with DEATH, then left behind, as were some of our boys.

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Sarahw
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Sarahw
6 years ago

THANK YOU THANK YOU so much for serving to you and that great animal of yours you must be really good to him seeing how he is so loyal to you and to our country, GOD BLESS YOU AND THAT FINE ANIMAL.

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Brian D.
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Brian D.
6 years ago

As long as they are trained right and are taken care of I do not see a problem with it

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Melody
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Melody
6 years ago

Congratultaions MA1 John Washington and MWD Renato! Thank you for your service! You are heroes! Thank you!

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Christine
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Christine
6 years ago

One side of me thinks it's sort of unfair to make these super wonderful animals do dangerous things, whether it be dogs, horses, whatever. The other side thinks it's very cool, as long as they are safe. I think service animals are absolutely amazing, they truly are. Way to go Renato! :)

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