Former military dog still helping soldiers
Months after his retirement, a former military working dog is finding new purpose.
Brit, an 8-year-old German shepherd that spent his entire life in the military until being adopted by Mark and Jasmine Russell of Fayetteville earlier this year, has begun making regular trips to Womack Army Medical Center.
Jasmine Russell said the "spoiled pooch" has adjusted well to his new role.
He passed therapy classes with flying colors, she said, and had no trouble with an evaluation needed to roam hospital halls on Fort Bragg.
On Friday, Brit made his third visit to Fort Bragg, where he has been greeted with open arms, Russell said.
"It sounds very goofy, but the boy is a traffic stop," she said. "Everyone stops to say hello or give him a hug."
Russell said Brit is particularly popular among soldiers who served overseas.
On several occasions, those soldiers have broken down in tears while hugging Brit and have thanked him for the service of military working dogs overseas.
"This is what it's all about," Russell said. "They tell me 'When the dogs come, it makes our day.' "
In the military, Brit, or K-9 Brit K049 as he was known then, served as a patrol narcotics detection dog for a military police unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Here in Fayetteville, he has been trained to help injured veterans and wounded warriors and also participates in Patriot Guard events, including funerals, Russell said.
The Russells, a veteran household, fought through an 11-month process to adopt Brit.
They said they wanted to be able to thank a military working dog by giving it the life of luxury in its retirement. They said they thought soldiers would be more receptive to an animal that had also served.
"It was worth every day of those 11 months we waited," Jasmine Russell said after the adoption was final. "I can't belive how smart and how good he is. He gets along with everybody great."