At 10 years old, the Belgian Malinois is the oldest Military Working Dog or MWD, at the Transit Center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, the main transit point for U.S. military personnel coming and going from Afghanistan. He’s also the recipient of DOG FANCY’s Military Canine Hero of the Year award.
This month, Lucky returns to his home base, near Spokane, Wash. He has been serving in Kyrgyzstan since January, his fifth deployment. He’s seen lots of action during his long career. In 2008, he found an explosive rigged to a military generator in Afghanistan. In Iraq, he survived a roadside bomb attack.
Lucky’s handler, Staff Sgt. Christopher Fall, who’s been working with Lucky for 10 months, says what older MWDs lack in youthful exuberance they make up for in experience.
“I don’t think there are drawbacks to working with older dogs,” Fall says. “They aren’t as fast as a younger MWD, but older MWDs are just as reliable and dependable. The benefits are the experience they have. They have been doing the job for so long it’s almost second nature to them.”
Lucky and Fall will return to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, WA. Lucky will continue his duties until he is called on to deploy again or deemed ready for retirement.
“It is up to my veterinarian to decide when Lucky is ready to be retired,” Fall says. “As of now, Lucky is 100 percent healthy. Every day I work with Lucky is an enjoyable experience. When I go to work seeing the look of happiness on Lucky’s face, it’s always great.”