By Conrad Dudderar
A post-Thanksgiving ceremony in Yukon honored a retired military working dog.
The Yukon Veterans Museum, 1012 W Main, hosted an open forum Sunday afternoon, Dec. 1 for residents to say goodbye and thank canine Gina for her service. Gina has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
Gina was born April 12, 2006 and served her country until her retirement in May 2017. After retiring, the dog has been under the care of Yukon’s Roger and Jalynn Smith.
Her handler, Amanda Quaranto of the U.S. Air Force, said Gina was strong and resilient.
“Gina was a dual-purpose military working dog,” Quaranto said. “She had explosives-detection capabilities and was basically a trained attack dog.
“She’s been to Iraq, Qatar and Kuwait.”
Among special guests for Sunday’s ceremony was District 43 State Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, who presented the dog and her handler an official State of Oklahoma citation acknowledging Gina’s contributions.
Gina was the first military working dog diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
When she was two years old serving in Iraq, a Humvee that was right in front of her was blown up.
“That had quite a huge impact on her life at a young age,” Quaranto said.
That incident was bad enough. But later, Gina was shot by a blank round in her back hip. The shot was at such close proximity it blew out her hair.