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A retired bomb sniffer dog was given an emotional goodbye by veterinary staff and K-9 unit as they formed a guard of honor for him.
Robson the German Shepherd’s service included supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn, as well as special assignments protecting the President in Europe.
Robbie and his K-9 handler David Simpson were both medically retired from the Air Force in 2014 after seven years working together, and was adopted by David and his family in Florida.
But after David died in 2017, Robbie’s age began to catch up with him rapidly.
When the time came, devoted staff at All Creatures Animal Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, helped organize an emotional guard of honor befitting of his military service.
With the Lakeland Police Department K-9 Unit in attendance, and veterinary staff forming a guard of honor, Robbie made one final walk off.
Erin Simpson, David’s widow, said: “Robson was never more than three feet from David.
“After David’s death, he was our family dog – playing with the kids and our little dog Thor.
“He was very loving, but also a very stoic dog. All Creatures and Lakeland K9 Police were able to honor him in a way that allows everybody to see his sacrifice and work that he did.
“That he was a great dog, war hero, best friend and pet.”
Linda Gordon, from All Creatures Animal Clinic, who cared for Robbie in his later years, added: “We all loved him – he was sweet and loved attention.
“We are beyond honored to have done anything for Robbie and his family.
“We wish we could have done more as part of the send-off, and would have if we had any prior notice.
“Everyone flexed, took shorter lunches, moved things around to do what we could for Robbie and the family once they received the news.”
The idea for the emotional walk off came to Erin after she recalled being involved in a final call for a service dog while the family were stationed in Germany.
And after receiving the devastating news that there was nothing more that could be done to aid Robbie’s medical issues related to old age, a charity called Tails of Hope helped quickly organize the send-off.
Erin added: “We are so glad he was able to be honored, and didn’t want his light to go out without people seeing him off.
“When it all went through and we watched the video back, we all got very emotional and also very proud.
“It was incredibly uplifting to have so many people see the video and thank him for service, knowing he won’t be forgotten and did great things.”