Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

November 11, 2013

A different kind of veteran

TRAVERSE CITY — The email arrived in Doug Davis' inbox during a late October evening.

"Doug you have no clue," the soldier wrote about Davis' dog, Remmy. "He really did save my life on several rough missions in 2004 finding IEDs, booby traps and personnel protection in crowds."

The soldier explained that Remmy had, on countless occasions, put himself between squads of Americans and danger. He had saved lives. He was a hero.

The soldier wanted to know that the dog who had protected Americans' lives for more than four years in Afghanistan, including time working in the Helmand Province, had found a safe place back home. He wanted to know that the dog who never will receive veteran's benefits or medals from the country he served would live out his life comfortably.

Remmy, a 12-year-old Dutch Shepherd, recently sprawled on the family's living room floor and flipped a toy in circles with his nose as Davis explained the string of emails that followed.

Remmy's put on a few pounds in his retirement, but his ears still perk and scan the room every few seconds, listening for anything out of place.

"Remmy saved his bacon quite a few times," Davis said. "These guys have done a lot of work and deserve to retire."

When Davis agreed to adopt Remmy more than two years ago, he and his wife, Pam, knew the military service dog would come with baggage. They had a couple years earlier adopted a military service dog named Ringo after his owner fell ill.

Ringo died a few years later after living a comfortable retirement in the couple's Old Mission Peninsula home.

Davis still keeps a two-inch-thick folder of Ringo's service records. He received little more than a single sheet of paper to explain Remmy's service. What the couple knows about him came from the men who served with him.

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