Six years of active service with more than 400 patrols by any measure, Lucca has served her country.She was trained to sniff out munitions and explosives, and protected the lives of thousands of American and allied troops.Her handler, US marine Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham worked alongside her in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“She is incredibly smart, loyal.I thought I knew a lot about her but when you deploy with a dog in a combat environment, you spent seven days a week with over seven months, you truly find out what the death of a bond is between a dog and the handler.”
Lucca was so good at her job.There was not one human casualty during any of her patrols.On her final mission in March, 2012, she discovered a fourteen kilogram roadside bomb as she searched for additional devices,a second bomb detonated.She instantly lost her front left paw and suffered severe burns to her chest.Her handler at the time was Corporal Juan Rodriguez.Within 10 minutes, a medevac helicopter was taking Lucca for emergency surgery.Her leg had to be amputated, but otherwise she made a full recovery.Retired from her role, 12-year-old Lucca now lives in California with Willingham both travelled to Londonwhere Lucca received the British People's Dispensary for Sick Animals Dickin Medal for bravery in battle.The dog is the 67th recipient of the PDSA honor which stretches back to the second world war.
“Most importantly, she enjoys being a dog, just relax and lay on the couch and go for family walks instead of combat patrols.And just really enjoyed it, we do our best to keep her sporting a well-deserved retirement.”
The decorated hero now enjoying a happy retirement.