By Keith Pannell: Mach Meter Staff
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — After approximately 44 presidential security details, three deployments and six years of guarding American lives and assets, one former security forces member has retired to a comparative life of luxury in Clovis.
Tosca, a retired Air Force K-9 military working dog, was recently adopted by Staff Sgt. Robert Haglund, 27th Security Forces Squadron, and his family.
“Tosca’s handlers and trainer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, called around to other bases to see if there was anyone interested in adopting a military working dog [MWD],” Haglund said. “Very few of them can be adopted and I wanted to give Tosca a good retirement.”
Military working dogs are not trained to be friendly, MWD trainers say. Tosca is trained in explosive detection, but has been involved in several detections and arrests of people, including an incident where she tracked an unauthorized person who gained access to a base in Saudi Arabia.
“Of course that was on my mind, I see first hand what MWDs can do,” Haglund said. “But I am confident in the stringent adoption process. If a dog acts aggressive toward anything ranging from their food to their cage to other people, they’re not put up for adoption. It’s also a huge responsibility for our family.”
That family consists of three kids, and several other dogs and a parrot.
The Haglunds picked Tosca up from the airport in Albuquerque and brought her back to their home in Clovis about three weeks ago.
“She’s a sweet dog, but I don’t think she’d ever seen a parrot before,” Haglund’s wife Lori said. “She took one sniff of that bird and pounced on the cage, which caused the bird to go berserk. We corrected her and haven’t had a problem since.”
Robert Haglund said, unfortunately, not many retired MWDs get put up for adoption. Those that aren’t adopted are used as training dogs at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas or euthanized.
He said Tosca’s adoption process took almost two months after she was medically retired for scoliosis.
“I wouldn’t trust most MWDs around my family,” Lori Haglund said. “Tosca is very friendly and our kids got attached to her right away.”
Added Robert Haglund: “Our 5-year-old wrestles with her all the time.”
The average life span for a Dutch Shepherd like Tosca is about 12 to 15 years.
At 8 years old, the Haglunds plan to have her around for quite a while and they said Tosca has lost no time in making herself at home.
“She is an amazing dog. She has spent all of her life sleeping in small enclosures on concrete floors. It took her about a day to claim the waterbed from us,” Lori Haglund said.
After protecting presidents, vice-presidents, their families, military members around the world and important military assets, they felt Tosca deserved a good retirement.
“She’s a wonderful dog who loves us and anyone we bring around her, but I feel sorry for anyone who tries to hurt our family or break into our house,” laughed Lori Haglund.