By Sarah Pusateri
Three of MacDill Air Force Base’s finest retired today — after serving a combined total of 217 years.
Dog years–that is.
After a fulfilling career of multiple deployments and secret service missions, German Shepherds Conny, Jago, and Haris were honored in a ceremony at the Tampa base.
K-9 Conny had the most accomplished career. Deployed to Afghanistan twice and Iraq three times, she is credited with supporting 12 secret service missions.
Her long list of achievements were read during the ceremony in front of a room full of prior and current military service dog handlers.
Her handler, Senior Airman Brandon Denton, remembers how he and Conny took care of each other while deployed in Afghanistan.
“When things would get dangerous and everything, she would come to me and I’d help calm her down and I would always depend on her to find the explosives to save me and the troops behind me,” he said.
And Conny helped Denton find love.
“She was actually the reason, me and my wife got together.”
While deployed, Denton had to go to the medical clinic to get a rabies shot. He brought Conny along.
That’s where his now wife, Jessica Clemente, was working as a medic.
She said, “I fell in love with her first (Conny)- and now him second.”
The couple got married earlier this month.
Conny was the ring bearer and the flower girl. Now, the couple i’s adopting her, so Conny is also an official member of the family.
Jago, 10, has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq twice and Kyrgyzstan and supported nine secret service missions. Jago will retire to the home of Senior Airman Brett Carson, 6th Security Forces Squadron dog handler.
Haris, 11, has deployed to Bulgaria, Iraq twice, UAE and Germany. He has also supported 20 secret service missions. Haris will retire to the home of Randall and Shelly Patty of Louisiana.
Video from the ceremony photographed and edited by Sarah Pusateri: