The bond we share with our canines is hard to explain. This special love is a strong force that makes us do anything and everything for our furry animals. Service dogs in particular, are not just there to love and give you licks, but to save your life and that of countless others. Canines who serve side-by-side in times of war, also form a deep relationship with their humans. Many military men and women admit that military dogs who provide a constant, unconditional source of love during upheavals helps keep them sane.Dogs like him have been serving long before the Second World War. Military canines are put through rigorous training to track and attack the enemy in combat, among other things. No technology advancement pairs to a dog’s sense of smell. It is highly accurate in detecting bombs, weapons, gasses, and drugs.
Over 2,500 dogs serve the U.S military today. Rico was chosen for two tours abroad. It is a place where “dogs are among our most effective counter measures against terrorists and explosives,” said Dr. Stewart Hilliard, Chief of Military War Dog Evaluation and Training, in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
He kept his wartime partner, Marine Staff Sgt. Russ Beckley Jr. protected. “There was not a moment when it wasn’t his mission or his goal to be by my side. I was everything to him, and he was everything to me,” reported Beckley Jr. Together they were unbeatable. Rico had been a part of more than 240 missions and received a Purple Heart award in 2011.
Tammy and Russ Beckley Sr. invited Rico to Saugatuck, Michigan, because of the deep bond shared between the wartime mates. He was visited by his former partner Russ Beckley Jr. in between missions.
Rico had always been one of those strong and energetic dogs. But now his health was slowing him down. Beckley Jr. made sure to visit his loyal and faithful canine several times. They would cuddle for hours. He became so unwell that his family took the hardest decision of all time; putting down their beloved hero.
The family said their goodbyes and shared their heartfelt final words with Rico and a huge crowd outside their house. “For a time we were unbeatable, nothing passed among us undetected,” Beckley Jr. began, as the weary Rico laid by his feet.
He took his last breath and slipped away surrounded by his loving family. “Mainly I was thinking about how loyal he was to our family. To my son. To myself. And to our country. He just kinda melted into my arms and we had a very nice goodbye,” reported Beckley Sr. “I thanked Rico. For everything that he’s done for me. And I told him that I loved him,” added Beckley Jr.
The flag was lowered to half-mast and the crowd paid their tributes. The tiny casket was draped in the American flag, a mark of honour and respect.