Barros, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, was adopted Tuesday by former handler Cpl. Christopher Gurr with the police department aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany. Barros had been working as a patrol/drug detector civilian police working dog on the base since 2006. (Jennifer Parks)
MCLB-ALBANY — The last of the old canine crew from the Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee Kennel aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany has now begun his retirement.
Barros, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois that had been a patrol/drug detector civilian police working dog at the installation’s police department, was given to a former handler — Cpl. Christopher Gurr — during an adoption ceremony Tuesday at the kennel.
Angela Dunwoody, the base’s kennel master, described Barros as the last of the old crew, having served at the base since December 2006. Having come to Albany from training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Barros conducted several narcotics searches while stationed at MCLB-Albany— which have included random vehicle inspections, health and comfort searches in the barracks and area schools.
He was also trained as a bite dog, a maneuver those at the kennel say he never had to use in a live situation.
“He has always been the superstar,” said Marine Corps Police Department Chief Randy Jack. “He has earned his right to retirement.”
When the dogs at the kennel reach about 10 years of age, they are usually retired out either because of training problems or medical problems. In the last two years, there have been six dogs from the kennel that have been adopted, four of which have gone to former handlers.
Barros was retired due to a ruptured disc in his back that will force him to be on medication for the rest of his life.
“There were three people that wanted to adopt Barros,” Dunwoody said. “He went (to Gurr) because he was his former handler. “He spent the longest amount of time with him.”
Barros was the first dog to which Gurr was assigned. They have been working together since 2008.
“I’ve been a dog lover my whole life,” the corporal said. “Being in the working dog community, you become attached. You become more than partners, you become best friends and companions.”
In addition to having toys to chew on and some time on the couch, Gurr said that Barros will be able to spend his days roaming around four acres of land with pecan trees — a retirement he says the dog deserves.
“He’ll be doing a lot of running around,” he said.
Gurr has adopted other working dogs from the kennel before, one of which he said died late last year. He said that his most recent adoptee is unique in that he is a “push-button dog.”
“He knows his job real well,” Gurr said.