The family of a US marine dog handler who died in Afghanistan has adopted the canine that served alongside him.
On 28 September, 2011, Staff Sergeant Christopher Diaz was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. At the time, he was in the field supporting a reconnaissance mission.
Since being deployed, the 27-year-old Staff Sergeant had been working with Dino, an experienced bomb disposal dog. After his son’s death, Salvador Diaz put in a request to adopt the Belgian malinois.
Initially, the request was declined. Dino is a highly trained military dog that specialises in finding explosives. At the time, the US army had a shortage of such canines, so needed him to stay in service. He was only six years old, so had plenty of field time left in him.
However, the military did not forget the family’s request. As soon as he could, the US Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, approved the family’s request.
Once Dino had undergone the dog training to make the transition to civilian life and passed a socialisation test, the adoption process moved forward. On Saturday 7 June, 2014, the family picked up Dino from Camp Pendleton.
Diaz’s father said:
“He’s not going to replace Christopher but he’ll give us something that Christopher loved, the Marine Corps.”
The dog will live with the family at their El Paso home in Texas. The family home was checked for suitability and passed with flying colours. There is a large yard complete with a swimming pool for Dino to enjoy.