Thursday, March 10, 2011

Man's Best Friend ... America's Hero

A few days ago, I was honored to spend an afternoon with Kaun family - Steven and Christina, their adorable son Landen and their two dogs, Rogue (a 3 year old beagle) and Argo (an 11 year old German Shepherd). I got to go on location in their home to do some family portraits for them, and learn a little about their wonderful dog, Argo.

The Kaun Family, February 2011

MWD (Ret.) Argo/D150 was whelped in October 1999. On April 2, 2001 he entered into the service of the United States Air Force, and was certified in patrol on June 12, 2001 and then explosive certified on May 2, 2002.

Argo was a passive (sit response) dog with a kong reward, and was certified to alert on nine odors.

Upon his arrival to the 820th SFG, 823rd SFS Moody AFB, Georgia, he participated in a total of ten contingency deployments and numerous US Secret Service missions, to include:

Ganci AB (Manas), Kyrgyzstan; May 2002 - September 2002; April 2003 - June 2003
King Faisl AB, Jordan; Dates Unknown
Tallil AB, Iraq; December 2003 - March 2004
Kirkuk RAB, Iraq; September 2003 - December 2003; September 2004 - March 2005; July 2005 - January 2006; May 06 - September 2006
Afghanistan; Dates Unknown
Oman; February 2008 - March 2008
Peru; November 2008

Argo was medically retired last February due to Degenerative Myelopathy, and spent the last year of his life with his family - the Kaun's.

That's the official side of it - but meeting Argo is an entirely different story.
When I got to the Kaun's house, I knew just a little bit about him and his family. I am an avid dog lover, but I've never met a dog as noble as Argo. Just seeing him laying on his bed, his calm demeanor and kind eyes - it reminded me of someone's elderly grandpa who had served in war, quiet and reserved but strong and honorable.

Steven, a K9 trainer with the USAF, was Argo's handler for the last few years of Argo's service and the bond between them - affection, respect, love - was profound and mutual. I listened as Steven talked about how Argo was there for him during their deployments together, and we laughed about how Argo used to prance when he walked.

I feel so lucky to have gotten to spend just a few hours with Argo and his family, they are amazing people and Argo was one heck of a dog - truly man's best friend, and an American hero.

RIP MWD (Ret.) Argo/D150, October 1999 - March 2011 ... Gone, but not forgotten.


  1. Beautiful Ashley, Simply Beautiful. RIP Argo. . An American Hero :)

  2. You made me cry... RIP Argo. All dogs go to heaven and have lots of wonderful treats, toys, and people to always play and love them!

  3. Oh... and this reminds me. I asked my Grandma once (who is a minister) if dogs go to heaven. She said she believed 100% that they do because they are part of us and a part of our family. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without our family!

  4. Great blog Ashley! What a great story you have shared about Argo and I cried like a baby. The one of Steven and Argo holding "paws" made me cry, you captured that dog amazingly in his eyes. Great job and what a wonderful dog.