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Face of Defense: Handler Adopts Working Dog in Declining Health

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexis Docherty Holloman Air Force Base

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With a grey-speckled snout and upright shoulders, Beci, a military working dog assigned to the 49th Security Forces Squadron here, trots across the platform.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty)
Air Force Senior Airman Armando Monreal, a military working dog handler with the 49th Security Forces Squadron, poses for a photo with Beci, a retired military working dog, following Beci's retirement ceremony at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., March 16, 2018. Beci retired after nine years of service as a patrol certified explosive ordnance detection dog and was adopted by Monreal. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty) Paws and smell the treats, Holloman defender retires
Air Force Senior Airman Armando Monreal, a military working dog handler with the 49th Security Forces Squadron, poses for a photo with Beci, a retired military working dog, following Beci's retirement ceremony at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., March 16, 2018. Beci retired after nine years of service as a patrol certified explosive ordnance detection dog and was adopted by Monreal. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexis P. Docherty

His coat glistens, each strand of fur illuminated by the set of fluorescent lights beaming from above.

Of medium build and height, his frame is neither menacing nor fear-inducing. Nonetheless, he is striking.

Atop the stage, he appears strong, dignified and full of heart as he is recognized, not for one good deed alone, but the sum total of his life’s dutiful service.

Beci retired March 16 after nine years of faithful service to the Air Force.

In tribute to his time on station, Beci was gifted a certificate of retirement and a homemade peanut butter cake, which he promptly devoured.

Beci arrived here in 2011 to serve as a patrol certified, explosive ordnance detection dog.

Retired Life

His age, coupled with several health issues, led to a decline in Beci’s performance this past year.

“Beci has a progressive condition that is just wearing him down,” said Senior Airman Chase Feeney, a military working dog handler with the 49th Security Forces Squadron. “He has arthritis in his hips and issues with his eyesight. His hearing is also starting to go and our dogs have to be able to hear their handler’s commands. It does not hinder him from being a good dog or pet. However, it is in the best interest of the mission at large that he retires.”

Beci was adopted by his previous handler, Senior Airman Armando Monreal, a military working dog handler with the 49th Security Forces Squadron.

“I served with Beci for a year and a half,” Monreal said. “I was his first and only deployment. During the adoption process, handlers usually have first choice. I decided to adopt him because he was my first dog. We were together for a while and we connected.”

Dogs like Beci are an essential asset to the Air Force.

“These dog’s abilities are unique and what they bring to the mission is immeasurable,” Feeney said. “We cannot hear, see or smell the same way that these dogs do. Their presence is absolutely necessary, not just here at Holloman but worldwide. It is awesome being able to work with them every day.”

With Monreal, Beci will live out the remainder of his days in relative comfort, enjoying the niceties afforded by a domesticated life -- cue the savory treats and belly rubs.

“In my opinion, Beci is the best dog in the Holloman kennels,” Monreal said. “Working-wise, he gave it his all. He is really loving and goofy. He put in his time and now he gets to enjoy life and just be a dog.”


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