Featured Heroes: Lani Mitra Singh, Veteran Combat Medic (US Army), and her service dog Emir H323, Retired Military War Dog (US Air Force)
Lani enlisted in the Army in 2006 as a combat medic and was stationed at Ft. Carson. But, just seventeen days shy of deployment to Afghanistan, a training accident broke a vertebra in her back, which required her to stay behind in rear detachment, supporting her company stateside. The injury left her 70% disabled that she needed to medically retire in 2010. "I adopted my first retiring military dog, Billy, in 2009. MWD Billy and I would live two of the best years of both our lives," she says, remembering him fondly. "My last year in the Army, MWD Billy would often come to formation with me at Ft. Carson and would visit and help the wounded soldiers. I knew after taking care of war dog Billy that I would adopt retiring military dogs for the rest of my life."
When these canines retire, they are usually old and broken, requiring a lot of medical care. The person that adopts a retired war dog must assume all costs of that dog as they are considered equipment [to the military] and are not given retirement benefits.
While in the Air Force, Emir had four deployments to Iraq. He was trained in explosive detection and patrol - dual purpose. During Emir's last deployment in 2008, he was assigned the task of protecting President George W. Bush during his visit to Baghdad.
Lani and Emir in school
Lani adopted MWD Emir H323 in January of 2012 as an "emergency re-home" because the person who originally adopted him became too ill. In February of 2012, Emir was retrained as a service dog so that Lani could attend Pikes Peak Community College. Once there, Emir became the campus Military/Veteran Affairs Office mascot of the school. "Emir was an excellent service dog who took his job very seriously and performed many tasks that I needed done, which made attending college possible for me," Lani says.
It is with regret to report that MWD Emir H323 passed away on May 20, 2013, however, his spirit is still very much alive as this is Emir's second year nominated as a contestant in the Hero Dog Awards in the Military category, an annual contest sponsored by the American Humane Society. His voting link is: http://www.herodogawards.org/vote/?nominee=92463898
Emir partnered with a charity and, should he win the prize, all monies will be donated to the United States War Dog Association.
You can follow Emir on facebook, where his fan page helps educate others about the work and history of war dogs since the inception of the Canine Corps in March 13, 1942. His facebook page is: MWD Emir H323
Also, please join Military Working Dog Reclassification on facebook to help war dogs receive the benefits they deserve!