FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Animal advocates honored retired U.S. military dogs Chuky and Mako on Friday in Fort Lauderdale. The ceremony to honor the war veterans was also meant to raise awareness of their plight.
Mako is an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois. He spent eight years as a military bomb-sniffing dog in Kuwait before he was rescued and returned to the United States to retire in a loving home.
"I honestly do not know what he has seen," said Kristen Maurer, of Mission K9 Rescue. "I know where he lived and what he did, and it was not the best of conditions."
Mako was one of 17 dogs abandoned in Kuwait by a military contractor that went bankrupt.
"This company went under and abandoned 17 dogs that served the USA, saved hundreds of lives, literally abandoned them in a desert in a foreign country," said Mindi Rudin, the event organizer.
Mission K9 Rescue went in and not only found the dogs, but was able to bring all 17 back plus seven more. It is part of the group's mission to make sure every dog that serves in our military gets the retirement it deserves.
"They've gone in front of our servicemen and women, and they've saved lives and it's our duty to give back to them," Maurer said.
On Friday night, Mako and another K-9 retiree, Chucky, were the center of attention in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Both dogs received a mention in the congressional record by the office of Rep. Ted Deutch.
"We should ask our government to provide them a fair and honorable retirement, where they know a little bit of safety -- a little bit of love and peace," Maurer said.
HOW TO HELP
There are thousands of these service dogs working overseas with our military and contractors that will need to go to loving homes. For more information about how to help Mission K9 Rescue, visit the organization's site to send a message or to donate.
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