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ACPD honors K9 who served in Afghanistan as family prepares for loving farewell

A dog that served in Afghanistan is receiving a lot of special attention this week as his family prepares for a loving send-off after discovering he has an aggressive tumor.

A Nextdoor post about K9 Rony, the purebred Belgian Malinois living in Arlington, has garnered more than 500 reactions and 140 comments — and prompted Arlington County Police Department to honor him with a vehicle procession Tuesday.

Arlington County police decided to honor Rony “to show our respect and gratitude for his years of service,” a tweet from the department reads. “We are thankful for the time we got to spend with him and ask that you join us in keeping his family in our thoughts during this difficult time.”

Rony served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan for many years, his owners wrote in the Nextdoor post. He retired from the U.S. military where his service included over 380 combat missions, they wrote on the social network.

“A few days ago, Rony had to go to an emergency vet hospital where surgeons found an aggressive fast-growing tumor in his abdomen,” the post reads. “They do not believe he will survive the surgery. Together, we all realized that the kindest gift we could give to him is to allow him to pass away peacefully through euthanasia.”

The family invited users to send notes that will be read aloud to Rony during an “honorable and loving sendoff surrounded by those who love him” this Saturday. The messages will then be shared with other military working dogs and their handlers training for a future deployment, the post says.

The family also hopes to include the letters in a children’s book about the life of a military working dog.

“Military working dogs like Rony have helped protect our country alongside our men and women who serve,” the post reads. “Even after serving, they continue to love and inspire others.”

The full post is below.

Dear friends,

My family and I have had the honor of taking care of a U.S. military working dog. Rony is a purebred Belgian Malinois who served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan for many years. His service included over 380 combat missions. A few days ago, Rony had to go to an emergency vet hospital where surgeons found an aggressive fast-growing tumor in his abdomen. They do not believe he will survive the surgery. Together, we all realized that the kindest gift we could give to him is to allow him to pass away peacefully through euthanasia. Rony will be given an honorable and loving sendoff surrounded by those who love him on Saturday, May 21st. Military working dogs like Rony have helped protect our country alongside our men and women who serve. Even after serving, they continue to love and inspire others. We would like to invite you to write a short message that will be read aloud to Rony, and then sent to be shared with other military working dogs and their handlers that are currently training for a future deployment. Your letters will also be included in a children’s book that is being written to teach kids about the life of a military working dog – from the puppy years, to training, selection, deployment and retirement. Thank you for helping honor Rony’s life. Your words will mean so much.

Rony has a little working dog sister named Echo, who seems to sense what is happening. We are spending the next days trying to spoil both of them.

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