Retired Army dog up for "hero" award - - Columbia, South Carolina

Retired Army dog up for "hero" award

(Source: Team Gabe Facebook Page) (Source: Team Gabe Facebook Page)

A retired Sergeant 1st Class stationed at Fort Jackson is up for an award after a successful 170 combat patrols and many years in the service.   

Who is this mountain of a man with steel in his heart and ice water in his veins?

He is not a man. His name is Gabe. He's a 9-year-old K-9, and according to the American Humane Society, he is one of several dogs up for an award in the Hero Dog Contest.

Gabe spent several years in Iraq where he helped to make 26 finds during his combat patrols. In those years, he was also a highly-decorated dog that received three Army Commendation medals, an Army Achievement medal, and almost 40 coins of excellence.

"Everyday we'd go out for 18 hour searches and he was a trooper," SSgt. Chuck Shuck, Gabe's handler, said. "We'd be stuffed into a humvee and the gunner would be stepping all over him, but he'd just find a place to sleep and when it was time to work he went out there and did his thing."

The American Kennel Club also recognized Gabe with the 2008 Heroic Military Working Dog Award medal.

Gabe began life as a pound puppy in Houston, Texas, and was adopted and trained by the Army to sniff out weapons, munitions, and other items.

Even though Gabe is retired, he remains active by visiting wounded veterans.

A Facebook page dedicated to Gabe has already mobilized, gaining 30,000 votes for the dog in the contest.

There are two stages to the Hero Dog Contest and the first round ends on June 30. From there, and if Gabe wins his category, he will go on to compete against seven other dogs starting on July 1.

"If we can win the overall Hero Dog award and get our charity an extra $10,000 then we wanna do it," Shuck said.

Their charity is the U.S. War Dogs Association, a group that helps retired dogs like Gabe get adopted.

While we'll never know how many lives Gabe saved, Shuck knows there are more like him that'll need good homes.

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