Contract Working Dog Carlos, Explosive Detection Dog.
Today, a local military veteran was honored as a hero by the American Humane Association: Carlos
, a nine-year-old Labrador retired from detecting explosives with the U.S. Army's 3rd and 4th Infantry divisions in Baghdad
, as well as later with Special Forces in Kandahar
"As Carlos aged, he was transferred to work with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan that was established by the United Nations Security Council," reads his biography
. "Sadly, upon retirement, Carlos was the victim of neglect. To this day, Carlos still carries ligature mark scars on his back legs from hobble-style restraints. Fortunately, for this hero dog, Carlos was eventually adopted by the Ridpath family and received a 'Freedom Flight' back home."
The story of his adoption by the Colorado Springs family is also sweet (of course).
"I received an email from Courtney about a retired Labrador in Kabul, who had been waiting to be adopted," reads the account
. "He had been passed over by adopters who preferred the Shepherd breeds. We weren't concerned about breed — our commitment was simply to provide a good home to a retired warrior who had served our country. We saw Carlos's picture, and we were hooked."
The pup is dealing with a lot more than the neglect wounds, unfortunately.
"Carlos has faced each medical issue like the warrior he is," the Ridpath family writes. "He has survived 3 major surgeries — cancer, removal of his spleen (baseball sized tumor within the spleen) and laryngeal paralysis — as well as 4 ultrasounds and pneumonia. ...
"Although our time with him has been fraught with illness, we do not for one minute regret welcoming him into our home and our hearts."
See the 2013 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards
on the Hallmark Channel at 6 p.m. MST on Wednesday, Oct. 30.