WIESBADEN, Germany — Sgt. Mathew Dobson said a final farewell to his working dog partner, Diana, at a memorial service at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Oct. 30. Diana, a 4-year-old patrol explosive dog (enhanced), passed away unexpectedly Oct. 16.
“She was an amazing dog,” said Dobson, a member of the 525th Military Working Dog Detachment. “She worked harder than any Soldier I know; in the end, that is what she is, a Soldier.”
According to Sgt. Steven Staples, detachment sergeant, Diana came down with a sudden illness on Oct. 16 and was rushed to Kaiserslautern for exploratory surgery where surgeons took samples but did not observe any clear reason for her sudden and serious decline in health.
Within a few hours Diana passed away. “She worked until the day she died,” Dobson said. “We worked together every day to protect this community.” Dobson and the 525th MWD Detachment are awaiting the results of a necropsy to explain Diana’s cause of death.
“It’s hard for people to understand,” Dobson clarified. “It’s a partnership. When I got better, she got better.”
Dobson was Diana’s first handler, training her in patrol and explosive detection duties. She was considered an enhanced dog because she was able to detect explosives off leash up to 200 meters away from her handler.
Under normal circumstances, working dog funeral services would be ceremonial, including speakers. Because of COVID-19, Diana’s service was a viewing, giving people an opportunity to pay their final respects. Following the service, the 529th Military Police Company did a 21-gun salute to Dobson’s working dog partner.
“It’s a really hard loss,” he said. “It’s a loss to the entire community. You can’t replicate a working dog, especially a dog like Diana. She was always eager and ready.”