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DOGNY Heroic Military Working Dog Award Presented in Fort Hood Texas

(Thursday, May 15, 2008)

Every year, the AKC/DOGNY Military Working Dog Award shines the spotlight on a military working dog and handler team to acknowledge their dedication, sacrifice, and commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces and the citizens of our nation. Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia traveled to Fort Hood, Texas to bestow the 2007 award upon Sergeant First Class Gabe, a Labrador Retriever partnered with Staff Sergeant Charles Shuck in Iraq.

SSG Shuck was assigned to the 178th Military Police Detachment K-9 Section in 2005, and was paired with Gabe, a Specialized Search Dog, for training at Lackland Air Force Base. Between September 2006 and September 2007, the team conducted over 174 combat patrols, including cordon and search operations, raids, and sweeps. Their efforts provided a safe working environment for the task forces, village sheikhs, mayors, Iraqi police, and Coalition Forces.

The team was nominated by Fort Hood's Military Working Dog branch chief Lt. John McKinney, who has said, "There is no way anyone can put a number on the lives saved because of what SSG Shuck and Gabe did."

"Gabe is like the mascot of the battalion," says Shuck. "Just having the presence of a dog is a morale booster for the soldiers." Gabe has a similar effect on his handler: "If I'm having a bad day, he turns it into a good day. There's nothing that beats having a dog as a partner."

Gabe and Shuck will remain together at Shuck's next duty station, ensuring that the team's close bond will grow ever stronger.

Dr. Battaglia praised the team for their "courage and tremendous service to the military and citizens of the United States of America."

The AKC/DOGNY Heroic Military Working Dog Award serves as a reminder to Americans that all of our soldiers—human and canine—deserve our thanks, appreciation, and respect.