Sailors at Virginia’s Naval Air Station Oceana sent a trusted comrade off in style last week, awarding the retiree a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal — as well as a series of pats and belly rubs.
After nearly six faithful years of service, Bob, a black Labrador retriever who also previously worked alongside Marines, clocked out of his military working dog gig for the final time.
Sailors formed two columns to see Bob off, saluting as he strode past.
“Bob’s just a big sweetheart,” Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Mike Hausmann told the Virginian-Pilot. “All he ever wanted to do was find bombs and catch a tennis ball.”
Fortunately for everyone involved, Bob will now have to settle solely for tennis balls.
The meritorious career of Military Working Dog Bob — his official title — began with training at Lackland Air Force Base and included a bomb-sniffing mission in Afghanistan and numerous explosive searches in protection of government and military officials.
Now, Bob’s sterling time in fur uniform is concluding with the 9-year-old’s adoption by Hausmann, who described Bob as “a big lovable goof” and “about 60 pounds of absolute cuddleness,” according to the Pilot.
“Bob is a dog after my own heart,” Hausmann told the Pilot. “He likes his food. He likes to play out in the yard a little bit, but he really enjoys his spot on the couch.”
Most would argue that with Bob facing his next challenge — hip and leg issues limit his youthful jumping exuberance — the Lab is more than entitled to a little deep couch sitting.
Now, Hausmann said Bob spends his days watching ducks and squirrels from the backyard of the sailor’s Virginia Beach home.
“He doesn’t chase them, he just watches,” Hausmann told the Pilot. “I think he’s done chasing stuff.”
Hausmann even allowed Bob onto his bed for the first time Monday, a historic event he said the dog celebrated with “about 20 minutes of just rolling around,” the Pilot reported.
“I’m really happy to have him at home and part of our family.”
It would behoove everyone to give Bob a virtual salute for his service. Virtual pats are also accepted.