Dogs, in general, are loyal friends. They are known to offer comfort just by being in the same room as a person in need, which is why they are often tasked with being therapy dogs. They selflessly give their love and attention to people who are suffering both physically and mentally. Being a therapy dog is just one of the many ways that dogs help our society. Military dogs are another example of pups who have gone above and beyond for their people. Because dogs have a natural instinct to detect, they have been trained to sniff out bombs and alert their handlers.
War can be a very lonely place, so when a service member is paired with a military dog, their time in combat is a little easier and they can’t help but get attached to the dedicated pup who is by their side 24 hours a day. The two soon become inseparable, but what happens when the combat situation is over and the dog and service member are sent back home?
Oftentimes the military dogs get adopted out to a good home, and in the best case scenarios, the dogs get adopted by the person he/she was paired up with during their time overseas.
One black lab named Treo was well known amongst the members of his military unit. He was paired up with his military handler, Dave after the two completed several tours in Afghanistan, where he was so well known that he was nicknamed “The Black Dog” by the Taliban. He lived out the rest of his years with Dave, his wife, and three children after he retired in 2009. Treo ended up living till the ripe old age of 14 and while he passed away surrounded by those he loved, his family was left devasted and heartbroken.
Dave felt compelled to honor Treo in a fitting way, so he tattooed a paw print on his arm, followed by the words…
“I will lay down my life for you and expect nothing but love in return. I protect my Dad with my life, and would gladly take a bullet in his place. I find weapons and bombs. I am the first sent in and sometimes the last to leave. I am the nose and ears of my Dad. I protect and serve him. I would die for him and for you. I only ask for compassion and a kind word.”
In addition to the words honoring Treo on Dave’s arm, the tattoo artist also sprinkled Treo’s ashes on Dave’s skin before he started working on the tattoo.
Having these words on Dave’s arm will always serve as a reminder of the time that the two spent together and the sacrifices that Treo made for his dad. Sometimes losing an animal friend can be just as hard if not harder than losing a human friend. Animals are loyal and free of judgment, always accepting us for who we are and not letting the little things get in the way of true friendship.