Retired Military Working Dog Alf Laid to Rest

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alfAlf, a retired military working dog, was laid to rest Thursday wrapped in an American flag as soldiers, veterans, family members and other working dogs said their goodbye in Colorado.

Alf was a military working dog who served six tours of duty all around the world. In 2010 he was assigned to Sgt. Edward Pfeifer and the two served together in Germany and Afghanistan. When the two returned to the United States Pfeifer adopted Alf.

A year after being adopted Alf was diagnosed with a genetic disease called Canine Degenerative Myelopathy.  It caused Alf to be paralyzed from the hips down and eventually would cause him to be completely paralyzed. As Alf weakened Pfeiffer had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to his friend and war hero.

“He has to be put down,” said Sgt. Pfeifer. “I really don’t want to do it, but we have no other options anymore.”

Military working dogs are not given military honors when they pass by the government, but Pueblo Volunteer Association heard about Alf and his condition and decided to do something for him.

“All the veterans organization and military units going there, if a veterans organization invites a military organization, they notate that Staff Sgt. Alf is memorialized, and it can be introduced into the national archives. There is no legal procedure for that, that’s the highest honor we can give Alf,” said the Pueblo Volunteer Association’s Vice President Salvadore Torres.

A memorial was held for Alf at Roselawn Cemetery. Over 150 people attended the ceremony including veterans from more than three different wars. Members of the Pueblo Veterans Ritual Team gave Alf a three-volley salute. He is the first dog in Colorado to be given full military honors and will be remembered by many.

“To my partner and best friend: Rest in peace. Thank you for keeping soldiers and myself safe and out of harm’s way,” Pfeifer said at the memorial. “You will always be in my heart and I will never forget you. It was an honor to serve with you and be known as your handler and dad. I will miss you with my whole heart and I will go on. Thank you for all the good memories we shared.”

5 thoughts on “Retired Military Working Dog Alf Laid to Rest”

  1. Degenerative Myelopathy is a horrible thing. I watched my boxer’s hind end wither away to nothing while his mind was perfect, up until he was fraustrated he could no longer get up and I saw that fraustrations and total look of giving up in his eyes.

    Hopefully someday they will find a cure for this horrible disease.

    R.I.P. Sgt. Alf.

    Thank you for your courageous duty to our country. You were very loved and will not be forgotten.

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  2. It’s a nice sentiment but it also creates a double standard. Police dogs are given the same level of treatment as human officers under the law making it murder to kill one even in self defense. But when police show up at a residence and choose to shoot the dogs of the owners for barking at them from behind a fence it’s not considered any type of crime and it happens daily.

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  3. 1979, my dog broke loose & couple days later ended up 300 yards across a ravine behind my place barking at some homeowner. I could hear him & called to him from the back porch. I watched a police car pull up to the house across the way. After that I heard a gunshot & the barking stopped. I ran to get binoculars & shortly after saw the policeman carrying a black bundle into the woods down in the ravine. My family called the police about it and were told the dog was frightening the homeowner and it was Sunday when no animal control officer was available; they had no choice.

    Service dogs being buried with full honors, & getting medals dates way back, but to me it’s something that only recently I’ve been hearing so much about. I do find it unusual to see a police dog in a flag-draped coffin while bag pipes are being played at his funeral. And I’ve seen that. It’s very odd.

    Enactment of special laws protecting such animals seems to be on the rise. Someone who so much as just taunts a police dog brings about serious charges. It does appear to be a double standard. I didn’t really start hearing of these laws until recent times. Being ‘old’, it’s all new to me. It seems very unusual.

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