This is a remarkable story about a beautiful, smart, brave dog named Lucca and the two men who served with him in Iraq. When the time came for the man who trained Lucca, Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham, to turn him over to another handler, he took that responsibility very seriously. He hand-picked Cpl. Juan Rodriguez:
“Your lives are literally in each other’s hands,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham, Lucca’s owner, who originally trained and handled the German Shepherd mix as a military service dog. “It was amazing to see how resilient and how well she was able to push through. Whether it was through fire fights, mortar attacks, IEDs.”
Willingham’s choice turned out to a good one, as Rodriguez ended up saving Lucca’s life when he was injured on the battlefield. Incredibly, both men still have a close relationship with the dog, and there’s a new book about their story.