FORT BENNING, Ga. - The 209th Military Police Detachment lost a veteran military working dog two weeks ago.

Luigi, a 9-year-old German Shepherd who made two combat deployments to Iraq, was euthanized April 9, said SFC James Allred, kennel master for the unit's military working dog section. He suffered from a degenerative condition in his back and hips and had to be put down because veterinarians feared the painful disorder might cause him to slip into a state of dementia.

"He was highly dedicated to the job. He worked hard during every training event and mission he went on," Allred said. "Luigi also had a strong commitment to his handler that he was assigned to."

Luigi's last Iraq deployment came from April 2008 to January 2009.

"He performed his duties well and protected his handler from harm," Allred said. "He was also well known on Fort Benning amongst the military police as the dog you wanted on duty with you. He was aggressive and very protective of his handler. He was a great military working dog."

Allred said the animal's absence is felt - from both a professional and personal standpoint.

"Luigi meant a lot to all the handlers and will forever be a part of the Fort Benning kennels," he said. "We loved him and will miss him around the kennel compound."

Want to adopt'

After completing their service, some military working dogs are made available for adoption. The adoption law, passed by Congress in November 2000, gives priority to their handlers, then to civilian law enforcement agencies and finally to the general public. An Adoption Suitability Test - given and videotaped by the dog's handler - is required by the DoD to determine if the animal is suitable for civilian adoption.

To request an application, send an e-mail to or call 210-671-5874. Additional information is available at or