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Military working dog becomes former handler’s family pet

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | December 16, 2015

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Searching for improvised explosive devices will no longer be the duty of Pablo, a military working dog assigned to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Marine Corps Police Department.

Instead, Pablo, an 80-pound patrol/explosive detection dog, will spend the remainder of his days searching for his toys and laying on a couch with his new owner and former Marine Corps handler, David Pond.

Wearing his detection harness and police badge, the 9-year-old Belgian Malinois completed his duty to the Marine Corps and nation, was retired and adopted during a ceremony held aboard MCLB Albany, Dec. 15.

Pond described having Pablo as part of his life again as being “euphoric.”

“Pablo is the closest to a kid that I have,” Pond said. “It is cool after many years being absent to finally have him. Now I know he can actually come (home) and live on my couch.”

Pond, who spent more than four years in the Marine Corps, deployed with Pablo to Afghanistan from December 2010 until July 2011.

“Pablo identified three improvised explosives devices during our deployment to Afghanistan,” Pond recalled. “One of those was a 25-pound explosive device.”

He noted the strong bond he had with Pablo while they were deployed so he kept up with him over the years through photos and articles collected from the Internet.

Missing his companion, Pond submitted a congressional request, thus leading to Pablo’s retirement and adoption.

Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, spoke of Pablo’s achievements and praised him for his service during the ceremony.

“It’s not every day that a K-9 receives this much attention, but in this case, it is very much warranted,” Carroll said. “Today is no doubt bittersweet for the entire team here at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany as we bid farewell to one of our finest military working dogs, Pablo.”

He said the bond that develops between dog and handler is very special because they spend so much time together, especially during times of deployment and special details.

“As Pablo retires and moves to the next phase in his journey, everyone at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, especially those K-9 officers and Marine Corps police officers who protect and serve us, will miss him immensely,” Carroll said. “We are all proud to have had Pablo serve alongside our Marines here aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany as well as around the world.”

Civilian police officer, Lt. Eric Brown, kennel master, MCPD, MCLB Albany, compared Pablo’s adoption to losing a family member.

“The pride I feel is based on the accomplishments Pablo achieved as well as the lives he was able to touch and safeguard while serving as an explosive detector dog for the Marine Corps,” Brown said. “We recognized right away Pablo would serve us very well because he was exceptional at every task placed before him while at the same time maintained the sociability of a family pet.”

According to Brown, Pablo has completed at least 30 United States Secret Service missions. He helped ensure the safety of President Barrack Obama, former President Jimmy Carter, numerous dignitaries and foreign heads of state throughout the U.S. and around the world as well as protected the employees and Marines here.

“So, I think you can understand the sadness I feel is the realization that Pablo will no longer serve us here on the installation,” he said. “Although I’m certain he is going to a good home where he will be well taken care of, when a family member moves away it’s hard not to feel a sense of loss.”

“Pablo has been more than we could have ever anticipated and will be sorely missed,” he continued. “He is a rare find in a military working dog program that is full of exceptional dogs. We all love him dearly and wish him nothing but the best in his retirement.”

Civilian police officer, Cpl. Greg Madrid, military working dog handler, MCPD, and Pablo have been working together for more than two years.

Madrid’s parting words to Pablo were, “farewell brother, you will be missed, catch you on the other side.”


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