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Retired military dog awarded medal and heartwarming surprise package to honor 5 years of service

He served alongside his human dad and continued his service even after his father's retirement in 2021.

Retired military dog awarded medal and heartwarming surprise package to honor 5 years of service
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @mwdrex_and_rider

The American military employs almost 1,600 military working dogs (MWDs) to be deployed nearly everywhere their military is, implying the importance of these service dogs. These dogs are highly skilled, having gone through rigorous training and they definitely deserve some recognition after years of service. Retired military dog Rider received a special package for his five and a half years of loyal and sincere service. His reaction while opening the package and exploring what's inside was captured in a video clip and uploaded by @mwdrex_and_rider. The TikTok page is all about Rider and his friend Rex, following their journey post-service. The video gained almost two million views within four days of being uploaded and was captioned, "We love you Rider."

 Image Source: TikTok | @mwdrex_and_rider
Image Source: TikTok | @mwdrex_and_rider

The video shows Rider receiving the package. As the package is opened and the toys inside are taken out, he seems to get more and more excited. His eyes are filled with glee as he is honored with the service medal of appreciation. Rider served in the military alongside his human dad. He even stayed on after his father retired in 2021. However, a year ago, Rider was experiencing health issues and required spine surgery. Even as he was recovering and attempting to return to duty, new health issues arose. So, instead of returning, he's finally living a normal dog life after waiting for a long time. The overlay text also explained, "Rider is experiencing normal life for the first time. He is still figuring some things out." Rider, along with Rex, is now enjoying his much-deserved retirement.

People in the comments appreciated the honor Rider received. "Happy retirement sweet peppers. You deserve the best rest and the best treats," commented @harrisonray2. "He is so happy because he is so loved by his family. Again congratulations on your well-deserved retirement and thanks for your service!!!" added @mteeone708.

 Image Source: TikTok | @mwdrex_and_rider
Image Source: TikTok | @mwdrex_and_rider

The package was sent by US War Dogs, a nonprofit that also takes care of Rider's and Rex's medications regularly. They also cater to the needs of many MWDs. The association also put up a post about Rider on Facebook. The post read, "Welcome to the RX program and to the War Dog family, MWD Rider A309. Rider was certified as a Patrol Explosive Detector Dog (PEDD) and was assigned to NAS Pensacola. During his time in Pensacola, Rider went on 1 deployment to Qatar in 2019 and multiple United States Secret Service (USSS) missions in support of POTUS and VPOTUS."


Explaining more about his experience during his service, it continued, "Rider faithfully served the Navy for 5 awesome years before being retired due to back problems. He developed growth on his spine which needed surgery. Unfortunately, after his recovery, Rider was unable to continue his duties and retired in April of this year. His adoptive parents say that Rider has fully embraced the retired life and is now living the life of a house dog. He now has 2 brothers and a sister. One of his brothers is another retired MWD, Rex. Rider now has a spot on the couch that he loves to sleep on and enjoys lots of cuddling and belly rubs."

The DOD recruits canines from top breeders all over the world, but only about 13% are born and bred into the DOD Military Working Dog Breeding Program. All of these puppies are from the San Antonio Joint Base. The Texas base has been doing dog training since the 1950s. According to the DOD website, the program only breeds Belgian Malinois. Because of their high energy, speed, trainability, loyalty, and work ethic, this breed, which is closely related to German Shepherds, is considered ideal for the military.

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