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Defense Forces' first service dog retires

The Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) first service dog, a 12-year-old German Shepherd named Bruno, retired on Friday after almost a decade on the job.

Since entering the Military Police's (Sõjaväepolitsei) service in 2014, Bruno Saules Vilkas duties have included supporting security tasks and performing explosive and weapon checks at various facilities during visits of important guests.

He has participated in more than 500 bomb inspections during events anniversary parades, and state visits by the Pope, U.S. president, and German chancellor, amongst others, the EDF said.

Dog handler and Military Police Officer Sergeant Martin Siht praised Bruno calling him "very smart and hardworking".

"Our almost ten years of cooperation have been a success – he has done a great job in all his duties, been an exemplary service dog, and has helped to keep the morale of the military police officers around him high, but now it is time to send him on his well-deserved leave," Siht said.

Bruno is unlikely to get bored at home as he has two other four-legged friends at home, the EDF said. Five-month-old Shot, who is training to become a service dog, and seven-year-old Kimbo.

"The younger boys will work while Bruno can rest and play in the future," Siht said.

Currently, the Military Police has five service dogs.

"The use of dogs in the Military Police adds a lot to the efficiency of the teams' work and many tasks can be carried out much faster and better with the help of service dogs," said Colonel Meelis Sarapuu, the service's commander.

"Bruno and Sergeant Siht made a great team, but the good results were the result of long, consistent, and commendable work," he added.  

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Editor: Helen Wright

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