Heroic US military dog retires

  • 06/04/2016
Heroic US military dog retires

By Debora Patta

Trained to sniff out explosives, 12-year-old Lucca went on hundreds of missions in Iraq with the US Marines. Her success was extraordinary: not a single soldier died on her watch over six years.

Gunnery Sergeant Chris Willingham served two tours with Lucca, and says she was, well, just one of the boys.

"She's absolutely the only reason I made it home to my family just through her detection capabilities locating IED's," Sgt Willingham said.

In Afghanistan, Lucca served alongside Corporal Juan Rodriguez. They were inseparable as they worked together clearing the homemade bombs set by the Taliban.

But in March 2012 her illustrious career came to an abrupt end.

A huge blast blew off one of her front legs. Cpl Rodriguez said that Lucca had saved his life so many times, now he had to save hers. He never left her side as she was rushed into emergency surgery with severe burns to her chest, neck and head.

He even slept by her side during her recovery at the US Base in Khandahar.

Since leaving active service, Lucca was adopted by the Willingham family.

"We live in southern California so we take her to the dog beach as well she loves the water," Sgt Willingham said.

And when she is not swimming she spends her retirement relaxing at home, as one of the family.

CBS News