Military dog who advocated for animal rights dies at 9-years-old - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Military dog who advocated for animal rights dies at 9-years-old

Photo by James Harrington via facebook Photo by James Harrington via facebook
KENNER, LA (WVUE) -

Ryky, a bomb-sniffing military dog reunited with the Louisiana soldier she served with, was put to sleep this morning.

Army Staff Sgt. James Harrington announced Ryky's death on social media Sept. 17.

"It is with a heavy heart that my family and I post that RMWD Ryky crossed the rainbow bridge today," the post reads. "The cancer had become very aggressive and to avoid any more discomfort to her, it was the right thing to do."

Harrington and Ryky were reunited in June 2014 after Ryky's military career came to an end. Harrington left active duty about two-and-a-half years earlier, but kept tabs on Ryky while she continued to serve overseas.

Their reunion was made possible by American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue. The nonprofit organizations worked together to bring military working dogs back to the U.S. from combat abroad and reconnect them with their former handlers.

Ryky was awarded the K9 Medal for Exceptional Service for her service in Afghanistan. According to the citation, on July 6, 2011, Harrington and Ryky were in a convoy that was involved in an IED attack that resulted in the severe injury of two of the personnel in the lead vehicle.

"Without regard for their safety RYKY and Sgt. Harrington exited their vehicle and cleared a path to the damaged lead vehicle allowing medical personnel to render first aid to the two wounded soldiers," the citation reads. "RYKY and Sgt. Harrington then cleared a safe path out of the ambush site and cleared a landing area for a medivac helicopter to land and evacuate the wounded."

After experiencing first-hand the difficult adoption process for former military dogs, Harrington and Ryky became advocates for retired military dogs. In July 2014, they traveled to Washington D.C. to take part in a special Congressional briefing titled "Military Dogs Take the Hell: Reunification and Retirement of Military Dogs." 

The American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue are still working to "make sure that the four-footed veteran who served our country receive the hero's welcome, dignified retirement, and loving, forever home they so richly serve," according to their website.

For more information Mission K9 Rescue.

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