COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - Carlos the retired war dog is a four legged sight to behold. I love dogs and seeing Carlos and his forever family handler Ruby Ridpath brought a big smile to my face. Carlos was an explosives detections dog in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike his military k-9 counterparts, he is a civilian contractor dog. Civilian companies contract with the Department of Defense to work alongside military dogs in dangerous situations. The civilian company still owns them as property until they are adopted out. Sometimes they get left behind after their service is done because it's too expensive for their handlers to transport them back to the states. Carlos was left behind in Afghanistan with someone who lived there. He was neglected until he was adopted by Ruby and her family.
Ruby put the work of Carlos and other war dogs in perspective, "These dogs earn and deserve respect and loving forever homes. They give so selflessly." Ruby and her family have had Carlos for nearly two years. It almost feels like yesterday for the family when she saw a tv special about military working dog adoptions, "My husband is a veteran and he served during Vietnam. We both looked at each other and said, let's give a home to a retired hero." There have been some bumps in the road for this nine year old lab. Carlos has had cancer surgery, his spleen removed and a surgery for his larynx so he could breathe.
Carlos is now a goodwill ambassador for military working dog adoptions. He is also in the running for the 2013 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. The voting begins May 7th. I've put more information on military working dog adoptions on links we mentioned on KRDO.com.