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Military K-9 retires after eight-year police career

One of Camp Pendleton’s oldest police K-9’s retired Jan 19, after spending eight years protecting the base.

Marine dog handlers across the base said their goodbyes to Benny, who has deployed to Iraq three times and conducted thousands of search and patrol missions on base.

“I am not going to miss Benny at all,” said Cpl. Jason A. Guthrie, Benny’s handler and Camp Pendleton military police officer. “That’s because he is going to be mine.”

Guthrie requested to adopt Benny after hearing news of his approaching retirement.

Benny isn’t the only one leaving the Corps. Guthrie will join him after his four-year enlistment ends this June.

“Benny is my best friend and is almost like a child to me,” said Guthrie. “We spent everyday of our seven-month deployment together. It’s not like here on base where we put our dogs up every day and go back to the barracks.”

During their 2008 deployment to Iraq, Benny suffered internal complications and needed to be medevaced. Guthrie placed the call for treatment.

After the helicopter landed, the pilot stated that Guthrie was not to get on the aircraft with the dog. Guthrie insisted, expressing his fears of Benny dying.

The pilot finally agreed and flew them to the nearest medical facility where Benny lost a third of his stomach and was given a 40 percent chance to survive, said Guthrie. Benny pulled through, and within a month he was back on the job in Iraq, he added.

Benny then returned to the U.S. in late 2008 and finished his last year working at Pendleton.

“Benny’s bond with Cpl. Guthrie is like nothing I have seen,” said Lance Cpl. Angelo Melendez, military police K-9 handler with Camp Pendleton’s Provost Marshal Office. “The two of them have this rare connection that all handlers hope one day to have.”

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