Military dogs are trained to be both loyal and brave. They follow their soldiers and protect them no matter what. Lucca is an amazing example of such a dog. She served two tours in Iraq with her handler, Chris Willingham, before going on another mission with her other handler, Juan Rodriguez.
Together, they went to Afghanistan, where the unthinkable happened. Improvised explosive devices (IED’s) were one of the major threats to the military and Lucca had been trained to sniff them out. She was on the trail of one when another exploded.
Rodriguez immediately ran to Lucca, and wrapped a tourniquet around her injured leg to slow the bleeding. He quickly scooped her up and got her to cover. Rodriguez saved her life, but in the end, Lucca would need her leg amputated.
Lucca retired from the Marines, but not before receiving a Purple Heart for her service. Happily, she is now enjoying life as a three-legged dog with Willingham and his family in Southern California. Rodriguez comes to visit her and she has even become the subject of a book entitled Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca by Maria Goodavage.
Thank you for your bravery, Lucca!