In the first ceremony of its kind, a military dog who worked in Iraq was laid to rest Saturday at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville, Kentucky.
Iireland received full military honors, which included a horse-drawn caisson, the playing of taps, a flag presentation to his handler, and a 21-gun salute.
“They deserve just as much as any man or woman out here,” said Iireland’s handler, Sgt. Joshua Sutherland.
Iireland, a Belgian Malinois, was 13-years-old when she died in August. She spent two tours in Iraq with Sutherland working as bomb-sniffing dog. After their tours, Sutherland adopted Iireland, and he said her loss was the toughest he’s ever had to endure.
Dr. Elizabeth Banks, Iireland’s veterinarian, who spoke at the service, said working dogs can often be high strung or aggressive, but that didn’t describe Iireland at all.
“She was like a pet,” Banks said. “It was hard to believe that she was instrumental in saving so many lives.”