Lucca, a bomb-sniffing U.S. Marine Corps dog, lost her leg and suffered severe burns while on patrol for bombs in Afghanistan was recognized for her years of service and heroism.
On March 23, 2012, Lucca on patrol for bombs in Afghanistan when she found a weapons cache in a poppy field, as well as an IED, which was successfully cleared. Later, however, a second IED detonated as she was searching for other weapons.
The hero canine had already served in the military for over six years, successfully completing more than 400 missions and protecting the lives of thousands of allied troops in areas of conflict in the Middle East. According to central command, there wasn’t a single human casualty during any of her patrols.
“She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her,” said Gunnery Sgt. Chris Willingham, who now cares for Lucca.
Lucca was evacuated from Afghanistan to Germany for treatment, then moved to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California to complete her recovery.
“She had her surgery and amazingly within 10 days she was walking around again,” Willingham told reporters. ”The best part is that she has the same personality as she had before the blast.”
Last week, Lucca was recognized for her years of service and heroism.
“Lucca’s conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty makes her a hugely deserving recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal,” Jan McLoughlin, PDSA’s director general, said in a statement.
“Her ability and determination to seek out arms and explosives preserved human life amid some of the world’s fiercest military conflicts.”
Today, Lucca is enjoying retirement in California. She spends her days visiting schools and attending community events — and getting lots of cuddles and treats. “I do my best to keep her spoiled,” Willingham said.
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