MAYPORT, Fla. - Rex served his country for the last decade on Naval Station Mayport as a military police K-9 and on Thursday morning, he was honored for his years of service.
The 12-year-old’s handler, Mildred Canipe, a military police officer for Naval Station Mayport, told us she couldn’t have asked for a better partner.
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“We’ve been to a lot of things, air shows, supporting the president, vice president, secretary of the Navy,” Canipe said.
Rex spent more than 4,000 hours as an explosive detection dog, sniffing out bombs that could have been hidden inside buildings or vehicles on base.
He even worked on a special mission when former President Barack Obama visited a few years ago.
“We had to do his motorcade over at Jacksonville and the First Lady, she came here to Mayport, she also went over to Jacksonville, so we had to sweep the vehicles,” Canipe said.
During the ceremony they displayed Rex’s shadowbox, which was created to honor his service and show off his accomplishments.
Canipe said she even taught him how to do a cool trick.
“One of the guys out there threw a water bottle [Rex] he crunched it. Made a hole in it, the water came out, the lid came off and so now I just paired it with the command of 'recycle' and he recycles water bottles,” she said.
Usually, explosive detection dogs are retired after they can no long smell explosives or aren’t healthy enough to do their job, but that wasn’t the case for Rex.
After 10 years on the job, his handler said it was time for Rex to call it quits and life after retirement isn’t so bad.
“He’s got plush carpet to lay on, he’s got 4.85 acres to run around on, old country dirty roads to walk up and down, so life is good for him now,” Canipe said.
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