Two Heroic Dogs Honored for Their Service to US TroopsGo Back to News and Updates
Two dogs have made it to the finals of the American Humane Hero Dog Awards competition thanks to their extraordinary acts of service and devotion. Both Maverick and Buda are heroes who have made substantial contributions to their communities and the lives of American soldiers.
Therapy Dog Maverick:
United Service Organizations (USO) therapy dog Maverick is a six-year-old European Blue Great Dane now stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. His dedication to the troops stationed there has landed him in the top five nominees for the annual Hero Dog Awards.
Kelly Brownfield, who takes care of Maverick and also manages the USO facility at Fort Leonard Wood, said that the service dog is a source of inspiration for the military personnel stationed there. Maverick's duties include treating victims of trauma, injuries, and stress, as well as bringing consolation to service personnel on suicide watch and accompanying youngsters to military funerals.
Brownfield said that the most satisfying aspect of Maverick's work is seeing the joy on the faces of service members and their families, even in the midst of adversity. She was pleased to have contributed to the establishment of the USO K-9 program in Missouri, which was inspired by her experience with her former therapy dog, Bandit.
Coast Guard K-9 Buda:
Maritime Security Response Team West in San Diego, California, employs a German shorthaired pointer named Buda, who is 4 years old. His handler, Petty Officer 1st Class Chase Leamer, is a Maritime Enforcement Specialist and an explosives detection canine handler for the United States Coast Guard.
Leamer and Buda have an impressive record of accomplishment, having completed 185 operational deployments during which they made seizures totaling $195 million in contraband, conducted vessel sweeps, responded to bomb threats, and deployed to protect dignitaries and high-profile events like the Super Bowl and the World Athletic Championship.
Leamer felt tremendous pride in being the Coast Guard's representative at the Hero Dog Awards in the military category. He stressed that this tournament is a great way to honor military working dogs like Buda, who are seldom thanked for their service until after they have retired.
Leamer recognizes that winning the entire tournament would be fantastic, but he is overjoyed to have made it to the top five as a military finalist.
Challenges and Rewards:
Brownfield and Leamer, two different handlers, discussed the difficulties of their jobs. Brownfield said that participating in the military's therapy dog program may be emotionally draining since the dogs see the hardships that military families go through firsthand. She takes comfort in seeing Maverick make other people happy despite their difficulties.
Leamer described the unusual routine of Coast Guard dog handlers, who take their canine companions, like Buda, home with them every night. Participation in community activities, particularly those geared at teaching and engaging with children, as well as intensive training, are all part of this round-the-clock commitment.
Leamer acknowledged that the constant state of duty in caring for Buda had an impact on his personal life. But he hasn't wavered in his commitment to foiling terrorist plots and protecting the thousands of attendees at his concerts.
The wonderful link between people and their faithful canine partners is on full display as two extraordinary canines, Maverick and Buda, compete for the title of American Humane Hero Dog. They will continue to inspire and motivate everyone they touch, no matter the result, because of their steadfast dedication to serving U.S. soldiers and their communities.