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A paws-itive ending for a not so quiet furr-fessional

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Valdes Montijo
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

After dedicating roughly seven years to defending Hurlburt Field, Military Working Dog Ronny will get to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle.

Ronny was assigned to the 1st Special Operations Security Forces Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and officially retired in March 2022. The retired MWD now lives with his former handler.

“I met MWD Ronny when I got back from house-hunting leave,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Male, a 1st SOSFS MWD handler. “Ronny was the oldest dog in the kennel, therefore he was very calm, lazy and just wanted to be pet. He knew I was a new handler, and tested me every day to see what he could get away with.”

Dog Teams, which consist of a handler and a MWD, provide safety and security on military bases stateside and overseas, and perform services that include detecting drugs and explosives and conducting search and rescue missions, among other responsibilities.

Male emphasized how Ronny loved to work on his own terms and conditions.

“If it was too hot, he would try to shade hunt,” said Male. “He was goofy and loved to take his tactical naps. He might have been the old man of the kennels, but he definitely had a great nose for the job.”

Ronny was born overseas Aug. 13, 2014, and seven months later he reported for the Department of Defense MWD training course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas.

Following his basic training, Ronny arrived at Hurlburt Field in April 2015 and entered “Green Dog Training,” where he was assigned a handler, completed on-the-job training and was later evaluated and certified.

Male went on to mention that although they only worked together as a dog team from October 2021 to March 2022, their bond was so unbreakable that he decided to adopt Ronny following his retirement.

“I adopted Ronny purely out of love,” Male said. “I knew no matter what, he had my back through the good and bad times. I owed him that much, and I wanted to make sure he enjoyed his retirement - even though it's rare for a new handler to be able to adopt their first dog.”

Throughout his distinguished career, Ronny was a key part of 30 successful missions to include direct support to United States President Joe Biden, as well as former U.S. President Donald Trump, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and a number of Department of State officials, among others. Additionally, Ronny deployed to Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia.

Now, post-retirement - some may say that Ronny is living his best life.

“His retirement life is a little different,” said Male. “He gained a few healthy pounds, gained a sibling, and a nice couch to lay on. My two-year-old son keeps him busy with snacks and playing with dinosaurs.”

Male said he is extremely grateful for all the moments he spent working with Ronny and the moments he shares now with him as his owner.

“Ronny taught me many things when it came to being a K-9 handler and a dog team,” Male said. “He showed me every situation will never be perfect, and to enjoy every moment we get. Unfortunately, dogs are only here for a portion of our life, but we are a part of their entire life; therefore, I am forever in his debt, and will continue to make sure he lives his best life.”