Air Compassion for Veterans

More Than Just a Dog, but a Military Hero

By suzanne rhodes on July 24, 2012
By Candice Gindle, Intern, Virginia Wesleyan College                 In the eyes of those who know of her fame, eight-year-old Lucca is not just a dog, but a brave soldier. Lucca, a Belgian Malinois, is a military working dog who has served in three deployments– two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. During her career in the military, she saved hundreds of lives by sniffing out over 40 improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Lucca’s breed, Belgian Malinois, is one used often as working dogs for police units and the military because of its strong senses and quick feet. Although they do require consistent obedience training, this breed’s energy levels are among the highest of all breeds, and their life span is 12-14 years of age. With these features, it is no wonder why Lucca has been such a wonderful military service dog. Sadly, while on a mission in Afghanistan, the dog was injured by an IED, which led to the amputation of her left front leg and treatment of several other injuries. Because of this, she’s been medically retired and traveled home to Finland to be reunited with her first trainer, Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Willingham. “We are adopting her and we are looking forward to welcoming her into our family. We plan to give her many years of happiness and lots of love in her retirement years!” said Lucca’s family. Air Compassion for Veterans stepped in and offered to help by teaming up with American Airlines to provide air transportation for Lucca.  On July 5, she was flown home safely. Thanks to ACV and American Airlines, Lucca is now beginning her new life as a civilian. She is a brave warrior and a true hero to all who surround her. To see more pictures of this remarkable animal, visit the following link, provided by the Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/slideshow/gunnery-sergeant-lucca-action?slide=blank-3#slide=49600781 Candice is a rising Junior at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. She is majoring in communications with a concentration in film, and she also enjoys writing. During her internship, Candice hopes to gain more writing and professional experience. In return, she hopes to make a positive contribution to Air Compassion for Veterans.  
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