The Last Bone

  • Published
  • By A1C Jessica Blocher
  • 14th Flying Training Wing

“Afra was the first dog I ever had as a handler at CAFB so having the opportunity to be her handler for her retirement is very bitter-sweet,” said SSgt Mikarah Howell 14th Security Forces Squadron K-9 handler. “Afra definitely understands she’s retiring, and she’s been preparing for retirement by reverting back to being a puppy and playing around.” 

It was a typical fall day at the kennels and Afra was fetching her toy from the yard but on her way back things changed... Howell noticed Afra limping as she returned with her toy in her mouth. 

“It made me so sad because I knew if she couldn’t even play without hurting herself, she was ready to be done,” said Howell. “It’s hard to see your partner go but it’s also nice to know that they get to go enjoy retirement in their new home.” 

Eliot Tremblay, a retired Security Forces K-9 Handler and Afra’s partner from 2017 through 2019 heard that Afra would be coming up for adoption and he knew his home would be a perfect fit for her. 

“We had been on several missions together as well as a deployment,” said Tremblay. “She was also my first dog as a new handler and over time we gained each other's trust and confidence.” 

Tremblay hoped from the very beginning of his time with Afra that when she was ready to retire, he would be able to adopt her. 

“The bond between a handler and a K-9 is an indescribable feeling,” said Howell. “A handler understands that the K-9 has their back no matter what and on days that you don’t feel like coming into work, you do it for them because you also have their back.”  

Afra performed over 25,000 hours of explosive ordnance detection  which protected over 7,600 personnel and 233 aircraft. 

“Whenever we investigated an explosive threat, her nose was always to the ground, and she stayed focused,” said Tremblay. “It has been incredible to watch her work and now it’ll be incredible to watch her play and rest.” 

The 14th Security Forces Squadron honored Afra for her dedication and service during an official retirement ceremony and presentation of an Air Force Achievement Medal.  

The symbolic last bone was awarded to Afra by SSgt Lance Tillery 14th Security Forces Kennel Master, for a job very well done. 

“Afra is a special high-spirited dog that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know,” said Tillery. “Giving her the last bone was an honor that I will not forget.”