CAMP PENDLETON – A Camp Pendleton military service dog has found a new home.
Dino was trained in Afghanistan by one of the Marine Corps’ most experienced dog handlers, and his new family has a special connection to his service.
“He is hands down one of the best dogs we have had in this kennel,” Sgt. Thomas Overland said.
He’s also one of the most experienced, talented and well-trained military service dogs ever to serve in the Marine Corps.
“Dino has one heck of a personality. He easily separates himself from the other dogs,” Overland said.
By all accounts, Dino’s original handler, Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz, was just as exceptional.
“It was definitely awesome meeting him. You’ll never forget him,” Overland said.
The 27-year-old El Paso native was killed in action in 2011 while serving on a mission in Afghanistan. Faithful to the end, Dino devotedly attended his master’s memorial service.
Now that Dino, who is more than six years old, has finished his tour of duty, he will soon be adopted – fittingly — by Sgt. Diaz’s parents.
“It’s an extension of our family to theirs,” Lt. Col. Mike Mizell said.
In a special ceremony on Camp Pendleton Saturday, Diaz’s family, who are coming in from Texas, will officially take charge of their beloved son’s constant companion.
“Take a look around this unit and you will see Staff Sgt. Diaz. You’ll see the values he’s rubbed off on our Marines, the values that we stood for, the values we believe in, and it’s important they see that as well too,” Mizell said.
This loyal member of our military is now embarking on his new life.
“He’ll realize real quick that he doesn’t have to work anymore, he can play with his toys as much as he wants. I can’t wait, I want to see pictures,” Overland said.