Serving in the U.S. Army for a little over 20 years, Sergeant Major Jeremy Knabenshue spent his time in service as an MP and worked as a K9 handler. It was during his time as a K9 handler for a Special Missions Unit that he first met Weblo, a Military Working Dog (MWD) that had a profound impact on Knabenshue’s life.
Their first deployment together
“When I was first assigned Weblo, he was a beat down dog from Holland that flinched at every sudden move,” Knabenshue said in a Coffee or Die interview. “I spent every single day for a year going to work to spend time with him and build our relationship until we deployed.”
During their first deployment together, Weblo was shot. Knabenshue credits Weblo with saving his life during that mission. It was during that fateful night that the two formed a bond that would last a lifetime.
“Our working dogs are selfless in everything they do simply to please their handlers and those who work with them,” said Knabenshue. “They give everything they have — to include their lives — without question to protect their pack.”
Saving lives was Weblo’s specialty
During his time in service, Weblo saved the men he was deployed with countless times. During one mission in Afghanistan, Knabenshue, Weblo, and an assault force made up of American operators were making their way toward a target. As they landed in the helicopter all hell broke loose.
During the chaos, Knabenshue and his team made their way toward the target. It was a hard push as they had to fight to get to the objective. As they approached the target compound and moved along the exterior wall, Knabenshue sent Weblo ahead to check for booby traps.
As Weblo approached the front do0or, he turned left instead of right. While the MWD had at first appeared distracted, it was discovered that instead, he had detected an ambusher set to fire upon the group as they approached. Weblo had the attacker, who had an AK47 in hand, clenched in his jaws. Weblo’s actions probably saved many men that night.
“Personality-wise he was one of the guys,” Knabenshue said. “He was more than just a dog or a tool. He lived with us and was part of the team.”
Weblo gets a heartbreaking diagnosis
After Weblo retired, he went to live with Knabenshue. While living with Knabenshue, it was discovered that Weblo had cancer. As Weblo’s health declined, Knabenshue decided it was time to have him euthanized to avoid the pain that often accompanies a battle with cancer.
As a final show of respect and as a nod to his years of service to his country, Knabenshue decided to have Weblo euthanized while aboard an airborne helicopter. As Weblo and Knabenshue circled in the sky, the wind in his fur, the vet gave him the injection that would allow the MWD to peacefully pass on.
“There will never be another Weblo for me,” Knabenshue later wrote on his blog. “I miss him daily and wish that somehow he could still be here. His death hit me far harder than any of the deaths of friends I’ve lost over the years. He was more than a pet or partner; he was an extension of myself as I was a part of him. His ashes are now placed on a shelf over my bar so that he can still look over and protect us.”
Here is a video with more on the wonderful MWDs that serve in the U.S. military.
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