When Ali, a bomb-sniffing Dutch Shepherd, was forced to retire due to his age back in December, his handler, Troy Sutton, was still in Iraq and worried that he would never see Ali again. Luckily, K-9 Hero Haven stepped in and helped Ali transition into retired life while Sutton finished his time in Iraq.
Sutton had served in the United States Army for 24 years but now works for American K-9 Detection Services, where he works with dogs to sniff out bombs in Iraq. Sutton had worked with Ali for about 5 years and became very attached to him during that time. He told WNEP:
“He was my life over there because he took care of me. He was very good at it, too. I trusted him and I think everyone else trusted him, too.”
Bobbie Jo Donovan cared for Ali while Sutton finished out his time in Iraq. She said:
“He fit right in. I have three kids, not a problem, like he’s been there his whole life.”
K-9 Hero Haven provides working dogs with homes after retirement and works with the military, veterans, and first responders. They also help transition those working dogs into retired life. Donovan said:
“These dogs served. They’re soldiers, too. They deserve to have a good retirement. It feels good when you’re giving [them] that. Otherwise, we don’t know where they would end up.”
Sutton is looking forward to living the retired life with Ali.
“If it wasn’t for [K-9 Hero Haven’s president Anne Gibbs] and Bobbie Jo, I wouldn’t get to see him again.”