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Explosives detection dog retires after 11 years of service

By Marti Gatlin, Public Affairs Specialist | | August 5, 2010

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One member of the Marine Corps Police Department’s Civilian Patrol Working Dogs Section began a ‘normal’ German Shepard’s life Monday after 11 years as a patrol and explosives detection canine here.

Aldo Charlie 179, who began serving in 2001, joined Jessie and Tiffany Smith’s family. Jessie, a civilian canine trainer with the Marine Corps Police Department, was one of Aldo’s former handlers.

Tiffany is a civilian police officer with the Marine Corps Police Department.

“I’m excited to bring him hone,” Tiffany said, before receiving Aldo’s leash outside of his former working environment. “I’m going to make him happy. Aldo will have a bunch of brothers and sisters (other dogs) to play with. In the beginning I will keep him separate from the other dogs and slowly introduce them. My husband prepared me for his homecoming.”

Jesse, who’s currently conducting training at Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., requested to adopt Aldo, according to Angela Dunwoodie, kennel master, Civilian Patrol Working Dogs Section.

“He’s an old man and wants to lie around and be a dog,” she said. “He’ll still remember his training, (but) he has no signs of aggression.”

The 80-pound, 11-year-old dog “patrolled the base as a psychological deterrent, was used for building searches, scouting out people and controlled aggression, (meaning) if someone was attempting to run away from police, the dog was used to apprehend and protect the handler and other police officers,” she said. “(He was also used to) detect any explosives on board (the base) and (assist) Secret Service, federal and local law enforcement in any type of explosives detection such as bomb threats. He was used on base at the commercial gate to search commercial vehicles.”

Dunwoodie added that even at age 11, Aldo can still keep up with the younger canines with his detection.

The kennel master said the German Shepard reached his service limitation, which is why he retired. Service limitations are usually at 10 years old and his was put off later than usual.

“He was still able to work at his 10-year mark,” Dunwoodie said, noting the base veterinarian said at that time Aldo would make it another year before retiring.

The veterinarian and Randy Jack, chief of police, MCPD, determines when the Civilian Patrol Working Dog retire and send the re-commendation to a disposition board that falls under the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, to see if the dog is adoptable, she said.

“He can either go to a handler or to another law endorsement agency or a private citizen. They have to put in a package,” Dunwoodie said. “We recommend someone adopt who has experience with a military working dog.”


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