Rebecca Frankel wrote a book about military working dogs called War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love. While researching the subject, she met a dog named Dyngo. Dyngo's handler, Staff Sgt. Justin Kitts, remarked that the dog liked Frankel, which was rare for him. Kitts asked Frankel if she would adopt Dyngo when he retired from the service.
This was no ordinary dog. Dyngo, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois, had been trained to propel his 87-pound body weight toward insurgents, locking his jaws around them. He’d served three tours in Afghanistan where he’d weathered grenade blasts and firefights. In 2011, he’d performed bomb-sniffing heroics that earned one of his handlers a Bronze Star. This dog had saved thousands of lives.
And now this dog was in my apartment in Washington, D.C. Just 72 hours earlier, I had traveled across the country to retrieve Dyngo from Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, so he could live out his remaining years with me in civilian retirement.
The transition to civilian life was difficult for Dyngo. He was anxious, always ready to work, and very destructive. Frankel wondered if she could care for a dog she was afraid of. Read the story of Dyngo's military service, adoption, and life with Frankel in the January-February issue of Smithsonian Magazine.
(Image courtesy of Master Sgt. Justin Kitts)