JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dingo, a 14-year-old Belgian Malinois who served in a bomb-sniffing military K-9 operation, was laid to rest with full military honors Saturday, the first dog to be honored in this manner in Jacksonville.
Every member of the U.S. military plays an essential role in preserving our freedom and security -- including military K-9s. They work hard to ensure the country’s safety with nothing in return but love from their owner.
Dingo was laid to rest in the military K-9 memorial section at Jacksonville Pet Funeral Home and Pet Memorial Park by Naval Station Mayport Military Guard. The ceremony included the Beaches Honor Guard, a 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, the presentation of the American flag to his handler and a performance of "Amazing Grace" by the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Scottish bagpipe team.
Dingo was born in Holland and trained at Lackland U.S. Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
After completion of his training, Dingo was assigned to Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville and assigned to his handler, Nick Converso.
While at Mayport, they were deployed and completed two tours of duty in Iraq, one tour of duty in Africa and over 50 presidential protection sweeps.
Converso, now a K-9 handler with St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said he has fond memories over the past 14 years with Dingo and is thankful for the time they have together.
“He was a great dog, fun loving, loved what he did,” Converso said. “He bonded with me very well, we worked strong together.”
Converso said he’s glad Dingo is being remembered for his service.
“Anyone that's been deployed knows these dogs are irreplaceable,” Converso said. “They are always at the forefront of any convoy searching roadsides for any IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The sacrifice they give to the community and to their country for nothing, just for love, pretty much. It’s awesome.”