Gabe to the Rescue – An American Hero
In 2005, Animal Control in Houston, TX picked up a stray yellow lab. Lost and alone, he found himself one of many other homeless animals in the city pound. His story could have ended there – but it didn’t. He was rescued by the Southeast Texas Labrador Retriever Rescue. From there, he was recruited by the Army and taken to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio where he received training as a bomb sniffing dog. He was paired with Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chuck” Shuck and named Gabe. The two formed a tight bond and, after five rigorous months, Gabe’s training was complete.
They then deployed to Iraq where they spent 2006 and 2007. They completed over 210 combat missions and found 26 explosive devices. Gabe’s ability to sniff out explosives, guns and ammunition saved many lives. They also visited wounded troops in the combat hospitals and children in elementary schools bringing smiles everywhere they went. In his off time, Gabe was always up for a good game of catch with Chuck. In 2009 Gabe officially retired from active duty having earned his place as Sgt. 1st Class, bomb sniffing. He had also become a decorated war hero, having been awarded three Army Commendation Medals; an Army Achievement Medal; 40 coins of excellence; and was named the 2008 American Kennel Club Heroic Military Working Dog.
Gabe wasn’t one to rest on his laurels however. He began a new career – along with his Dad – educating schoolchildren about respect, hard work and the importance of staying in school. In 2012 he was named the American Humane Associations’s Hero Dog of the Year. Sadly though, Gabe succumbed to cancer on February 13, 2013 and passed peacefully in his Dad’s arms.
His legacy continues on through his Facebook page where other shelter animals across the country are posted daily so that they too may find their happily ever afters. Many have been rescued and adopted thanks to the efforts of “Gabe Nation”. He also has his own children’s book about his exploits in Iraq. Copies of the book are being sponsored and shared with libraries and schools around the country, including the one at Sandy Hook Elementary. You can find out more about Gabe, the book and his continuing legacy of educating children and helping shelter pups via his page Facebook page here or his official website here.