Amazing: “Paw” Stories of the Season

Move America Forward | November 29, 2012 

Top IED Detection Team Reunited by Adoption! Marine Traveled 800 Miles for War Dog
Over the years we have done a lot to support bomb defusers working in Afghanistan to defeat IEDs. In years past we sent care packages to anti-IED units. Last year we began, for the first year ever, to send care packages that included special items for bomb detecting dogs and their handlers. If you are interested in supporting Military Working Dogs and their handlers who are still deployed in Afghanistan, detecting and neutralizing IED’s, you can sponsor a special K9 Care Package through Move America Forward. Each K9 pack comes with Dog Goggles (eye protection), paw protectors and dog treats or a rawhide bone for our K9 troops! As you know, when a K9 soldier and handler team work closely together for a long deployment, a bond grows between them that is every bit as strong as the brotherhood our human troops share with each other. We have also emphasized that many K9 teams are reunited after both the dog and the handler are retired, which is what happened in this heartwarming story:
Afghanistan vet adopts bomb-sniffing dog

By Scott Brand – The Evening News via AP  

Monday Nov 26, 2012

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - When word recently arrived in the Sault that Willy was ready for adoption, Gage LaMothe didn’t hesitate.

And a half-day of driving 800 or so odd miles to Virginia wasn’t going to stand in the way for this former Marine.

LaMothe arrived in less than 24 hours.
“We had been separated for seven months,” said the Sault High graduate. “I wasn’t sure if he was going to recognize me, but as soon as he smelled me he just freaked out – it was awesome.”
Willy is a bomb dog trained to pick up any kind of scent that could be used as an explosive. Paired with E-3 LaMothe, they uncovered nine explosive devices, a Soviet hand grenade, one anti-personnel land mine, 120 feet of detonating cord, 23 blasting caps and 320 pounds of homemade explosive on a tour of Afghanistan from August 2011 to March of this year.

“Me and Willy hold the record for most finds,” said LaMothe.

LaMothe had already completed two tours in hostile lands when he decided to become a dog handler.

“I volunteered for it,” he said, explaining his motivation. “I witnessed one of my friends die after stepping on an IED. If I could save just one life, it would be worth it.”

After training with for five months, they were deployed to Afghanistan, where they spent every moment together.

“On some of the operations, he was the only thing to pack to keep me warm,” said LaMothe, noting it can get awfully cold at night in the desert, and the foot patrols required him to carry in Willy’s dog food and water, instead of a sleeping bag. “I would curl up with him at night.”

After returning from his third tour of duty, LaMothe was honorably discharged from the Marines. He said, without going into detail, the only reason he returned from his last stint was because of Willy: “He saved my life, twice.”

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Shopping Spree?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have turned into a shopping bonanza that for some shoppers almost eclipses the importance of the Thanksgiving holiday it’s built around. Indeed, many people were concerned to see some shoppers shun their families and forgo Thanksgiving dinner to be first in line at stores opening earlier and earlier this year.

Whether you took part in all the sales or stayed home and avoided the crowds, remember our troops as we think about our holiday shopping and buying gifts for friends and family.

Bargain-hunting can be a worthy endeavor, but bear in mind that the troops are out there Taliban-hunting for our sake, and you cannot put a price on the value of the work our troops do for us back home.

Please send some support to our troops this holiday season and let them know that even if we stood in line for six hours outside the mall, we never forgot about them spending six, nine or twelve months in Afghanistan to keep us safe.

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