Friday March 7, 2014
VOTE FOR USMC Combat Veteran MWD Lucca K458: AHA Hero Dog Award ContestCoral Anika Theill Salem-News.com
“Lucca was the only reason I made it home to my family.” - Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham, USMC
(QUANTICO, VA) -
“Seven years ago, April 23, 2006, Lucca and I were paired together and began our training as a dog team,” recalls GySgt Willingham. “Lucca and I landed in Iraq and served with several units during the surge south of Baghdad. Lucca was very popular during our deployments. She even received more care packages than me, but I wouldn't have it any other way. A very important secondary and unofficial mission was increasing troop morale. Between missions, I would take Lucca's searching harness off and let her run around the troops we were supporting. She really brought a piece of home to a tough situation. You could see the morale improve from having Lucca around. In addition to locating explosives, Lucca was directly responsible for the arrest of four insurgents.”
"Since her injury, Lucca has maintained the same spirit,” says GySgt Willingham. “Lucca now serves as the face for the National Military Working Dog monument. We will travel with the monument around the country until it is installed in Texas later this year. It is an honor to care for a War Hero. Military working dogs have been serving our country since WWII and I am very proud to be a part of a community that has an amazing legacy. I want to see her win the 2013 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. Once you read her story (see below*), she will be your hero also.”
GySgt Willingham and Marine MWD Lucca K458 entered the 2013 American Humane Association Hero Dogs Award Contest www.herodogawards.org in HONOR of all WAR DOGS. If Lucca wins, up to $6,500 will go to the United States War Dog Association. This is a great organization whose mission is to educate the public about the MWD’s. Also, they support MWD teams who are forward deployed. In fact, they supported Lucca during her deployments
American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards™ were created in 2010 to celebrate the powerful relationships between dogs and people, to serve as a catalyst to advance society's understanding of the human-animal bond. Dogs are an invaluable part of our lives every day; as companion animals, service and therapy animals, animal soldiers, police officers and first responders and emerging heroes. American Humane Association advocates for the American values of caring, compassion and hope. The first annual star-studded awards show, held in October 2011, and hosted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by Carson Kressley, is a new and ambitious effort to continually recognize “ordinary dogs that do extraordinary things.”
Operation Lucca K458SUPPORT MWD Lucca K458 by submitting your VOTE for LUCCA May 7, 2013 through July 30, 2013. Vote by email. You can submit one vote per dog per category every 24 hours. LUCCA is listed in the Military Dog Category.
*Exclusive Interview with Marine War Hero MWD Lucca K458 (Woof)"I am a Specialized Search Dog (retired) trained to search for explosives off-leash. I am a 9 year old German Shepherd/ Belgium Malinois mix and was born in Holland in 2004. In 2006, I graduated from the University of Defeating Terrorist Iraq College: Finding Anything that Explodes and the Wires that Detonate Them. I received an Explosive Detection Master’s Degree. I deployed to Iraq in 2007, 2008 and to Afghanistan in 2011. While serving in the Marine Corps, I brought two handlers home from a war zone to their loved ones.
“After serving in the Marine Corps for six years, I am retired now but still serving this great nation," says Lucca K458. "I live with my handler, GySgt Chris Willingham, USMC, at Quantico, Virginia. Since my retirement I keep busy telling my story and the stories of my fellow Military Working Dogs and informing others of the important and valuable work we do for our military and the lives we save. I love children and people and my chew toys. I love attention period! I am enjoying my retirement and am getting plenty of rest, exercise, care, love, attention and couch time.
Please visit Lucca K458 on her on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/
Make Marine Hero Dog Lucca K458 your Cause:
http://www.causes.com/actions/1746575-marine-hero-k9-lucca Vote for LUCCA K458 from May 7, 2013 through July 30, 2013. herodogawards.org/contestants?nominee=84128943
THANK YOU ALL - A PAW FIVE FROM LUCCA BEAR
Military War Dogs
In the past service dogs were often viewed as just government property. Now service dogs are treated with the respect they deserve, which includes retirement with the people who love them.
The military uses a variety of breeds to serve as Military War Dogs. The most common breeds are the German shepherd and the Belgian Malinois. According to a fact sheet from the military working dog unit, the German shepherd and the Belgian Malinois have the best combination of keen sense of smell, speed, endurance, strength, courage, intelligence and adaptability to almost any climatic condition. As of 2011, 600 U.S. Military dogs were actively participating in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military dogs are relied upon to provide early warning for potential hazards saving the lives of the Special Forces with whom they operate. Military working dogs are capable of achieving over a 98% success rate in bomb detection.
Thanks to a new law, retired military dogs may now be adopted. Prior to 2000, older war dogs were required to be euthanized.
There are numerous memorials dedicated to war dogs, including March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California; the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. at the Naval Facility, Guam, with replicas at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville; the Alfred M. Gray Marine Corps Research Center in Quantico, Virginia ; and the Alabama War Dogs Memorial at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama.
Military War Dogs provide a valuable service to our nation, displaying dignity, courage, and honor whether in training or operational setting.
The United States War Dogs Association www.uswardogs.org
Coral Theill’s Military Articles at Salem-News.com: link
Coral Anika Theill, reporter and advocate, is author of "BONSHEA Making Light of the Dark." Her published works address trauma recovery and healing from post-traumatic stress and most recently, wounded Marines, the Warrior Games and Montford Point Marines. Her writings have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines/soldiers recovering from PTS and TBI. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, attorneys, professors and authors. email@example.com
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