Not all military working dogs in recent history have fancy pedigrees. One heroic pooch from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Gabe, was a pound puppy before he was adopted and trained for military service.
Just weeks after completing training in 2006 with his handler, Army Staff Sgt. Chuck Shuck, the two deployed to Iraq, where Gabe sniffed out insurgent explosives, ammunition and other weapons.
He was exceptionally productive, racking up 26 finds during his 170 combat patrols. Gabe returned home laden with accolades, and Shuck adopted him when he retired.
Even then, Gabe worked on behalf of the nation, visiting with kids and wounded soldiers in hospitals. The American Humane organization named him its Hero Dog of 2012, a distinction that came with $15,000 for the charity of his choice, the U.S. War Dogs Association.