FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 2, 2012) -- Military Working Dog Kondi celebrated the start of a new chapter in her life Jan. 26 as part of the bimonthly installation retirement ceremony.
Kondi, an 8-year-old German shepherd trained in patrol narcotics detection, spent six years working with Fort Lee military police and other dogs trained to assist Army operations.
"Kondi was a major asset to the Fort Lee Military Working Dog section," said Staff Sgt. David Timmerman II, Plans noncommissioned officer, 217th Military Police Detachment. "She had more than 10 confirmed narcotic finds, one of which resulted in 30 grams of marijuana being seized and removed from the Fort Lee community. Kondi's detection skills always exceeded the standards set by the Department of the Army and always resulted in a 98 percent first-time certification rate - with three different handlers."
While stationed at Fort Lee, Kondi patrolled the streets, training areas and barracks always ensuring the safety of the community, Timmerman said.
"She often assisted in searches for fleeing suspects during her service," Timmerman said.
When she was 3 years old, Kondi participated in the inaugural Training and Doctrine Command Military Working Dog Warrior Police Challenge hosted at Fort Lee. She was a member of 36 dog teams representing all branches of the military during the competition. She also won second place in the 2008 Military District of Washington Dog Competition's narcotic detection event.
"Kondi received Top Dog (military), first place in narcotics detection and helped the Fort Lee team earn Top Kennel. She always worked hard," said Timmerman.
About two years ago, Timmerman said, Kondi began to lose focus and she was diagnosed with arthritis.
"She often endured a lot of pain during the last few years of her service but continued to put forth an outstanding effort to do her job," he said.
During the ceremony, Kondi continued to show discipline despite many distractions. The auditorium was nearly standing room only.
Many Fort Lee community members came out to support the retiring Soldiers - some wanted to get a glimpse at the first MWD to be retired during the official ceremony for Fort Lee military personnel.
Kondi was escorted by Sgt. Rashad Harris, specialized search dog handler, 217th Military Police Detachment, during the ceremony in which eight NCOs were also retired (See photo and names on Page 4).
Harris said the handlers knew Kondi was ready for retirement.
"The pain kept her from focusing on her training," he said. "She was ready."
Kondi had just been declared a candidate for adoption when Dedrick Jordan and his wife Scottie read an article on the New York Times website about military working dog retirees and adoptions.
"We had decided to add a dog to our family and we thought we would make a good home for an MWD," Jordan said. "We started calling military installations in North Carolina (where the Jordans live) and then we called Fort Lee where they told us Kondi was available for adoption. We drove up the next day to meet her and we fell in love with her and wanted to take her home."
Kondi's new family attended the retirement ceremony and was able to take her home to Chapel Hill, N.C., afterward.
Jordan sent an email on Monday telling how Kondi's first weekend at her new home went.
"Kondi is at home with us and she is settling in well," he said. "She loves all of the attention and is being spoiled by everybody. She is the talk of our neighborhood."
Like most retirees, Kondi's years in the military have left her with steadfast patriotism.
"We were watching the NFL Pro Bowl when the National Anthem began to play. Kondi, who had been playing, stopped and sat "at attention." She sat staring straight ahead until the anthem was complete and then she resumed playing," said Jordan. "At first, we didn't know what she was doing - then it dawned on us, she was showing respect for her country."
Jordan said adopting Kondi gave his family the privilege of giving back to someone who had served our country.