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Paying Tribute to Military Dog Remmy

BELLAIRE -- There's a void in the office at Dewitt Marine.

Remmy, the affectionate, tennis ball-loving Dutch Shepherd, often joined his owner Doug Davis at work for the more than four years they were together.

"He was quite a dog," Davis said. "Anybody that met him never forgot him."

Remmy died just before Christmas 2015, and it's still tough for Davis to talk about his companion. The 14-year-old wasn't a typical housepet. He was a retired patrol explosive detection dog credited with saving dozens of lives in Afghanistan, and the third in a line of service dogs Davis grew to love.

Davis, of Traverse City, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1966 and served in Vietnam with a sentry dog, Smoke, who defended the perimeter of U.S. military bases. After Smoke, Davis swore he would never get another dog. It would be too difficult emotionally, he said.

But in 2008 he met Ringo, a retired U.S. Navy dog who served in Kuwait, and after Ringo came Remmy.

Priscilla Miller, an Alden author, freelance writer and National Writers Series "Author Next Door," weaves Remmy and Davis' stories together in her latest book, "Remmy: A Hero Dog of War."

Miller first met Remmy, Davis and his wife Pam in 2012 when she wrote a story about the dog's adoption for the Elk Rapids News.

"I didn't know the first thing about military service dogs," Miller said. "There was something about the demeanor of Remmy that spoke to me immediately that said he was not an ordinary dog."

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A year after Miller's article ran in the local newspaper Davis received an email from Remmy's handler, who was a military contractor in Afghanistan. He had been searching online for any sign of his old partner for the last six years and stumbled across Miller's piece. An emotional reunion followed, and Davis is still in touch with Remmy's old handler and military buddies.

Miller wrote several follow-up stories on Remmy and after his death decided it was time to write a book. "Remmy: A Hero Dog of War" is a tribute to Remmy's service, but Miller also wants the book to shed light on how military dogs are used in war zones.

"I just felt that there was a story here to be shared with the public so that they could really appreciate the sacrifices that these dogs have made, not just in Afghanistan but also, we go back to the first World War," she said.

Miller is donating all book sale proceeds to Mission K-9 Rescue, the organization that placed Ringo and Remmy with the Davises, and Operation: Warrior's Path, a nonprofit that helps veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

It's her way of giving back, she said.

The Davises are proud to be part of the book. They are hopeful it will educate readers about dogs' roles in the military and encourage people to support families and organizations working to give retired dogs like Remmy a good home.

"I'm glad that it will make so many more people aware of what these dogs are capable of," Pam Davis said. "If people have the time and the patience -- and it does take a lot of patience -- they're wonderful pets."

"Remmy: A Hero Dog of War" is available for $10 at createspace.com and amazon.com. ___

(c)2016 The Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Mich.)

Visit The Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Mich.) at record-eagle.com

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This article was written by Sarah Elms from The Record-Eagle, Traverse City, Mich. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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