American Humane reunites retired army working canine with former handler | Hometown Focus

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American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, helped reunite retired Military Working Dog (MWD) Xxanthe with U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Wade Alfson at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu.

“American Humane believes that every heroic K-9 who serves in the U.S. armed forces alongside our brave men and women deserves a relaxing retirement with those who love them best – their handlers with whom they have served,” said Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D. ., President and CEO of American Humane.

Dr. American Humane’s veterinarian, Lesa Staubus, who works regularly with her rescue team, traveled to Hawaii to ensure the safe arrival of Xxanthe and to monitor her health. The organization has worked with the U.S. armed forces to protect animals and support the nation’s troops for more than a century since the U.S. Secretary of War requested American Humane animal helpers be deployed in Europe.

As part of American Humane’s military program, the organization is helping veterans and active duty personnel bring retired MWDs back into the state and provide their veterinary care. To date, 44 teams of retired MWDs and their former handlers have been reunited.

“She immediately knew who I was and jumped right at me, which feels great,” said SSgt. Alfson. “She’s an amazing bitch – she’s like a human.”

Xxanthe, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois trained in explosives detection, served with SSgt. Alfson for a year and a half in 2019 and 2020. For more than a year, since SSgt. Alfson was assigned to Hickam Air Force Base, the two were separated.

Originally based in Mountain Home, Idaho, the two were jointly stationed in undisclosed locations in the Middle East as part of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve to protect their fellow campaigners from danger.

“It is a moral obligation to care for our nation’s veterans, including the K-9 military who work diligently to keep our men and women safe from harm,” said Dr. Ganzert. “We were honored to bring SSgt together. Alfson and MWD Xxanthe and hope that the years to come will bring them friendship and joy. “

In 2016, American Humane campaigned for the National Defense Authorization Act to include a language that guaranteed retired MWDs retirement on US soil and gave their former caregivers initial adoption rights. Due to the physically demanding nature of the service, American Humane is committed to ensuring that the medical needs of retired MWDs are met in order to ensure the most comfortable retirement possible.

About American Humane

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. More information is available at

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