National News

Dog who saved lives receives hero's farewell before being put down

Posted May 25, 2018 11:02 a.m. EDT

— Hunter the dog was honored on Thursday with a hero's farewell for helping to search for and rescue numerous people during the Haiti and Japan earthquakes.

"He made his mark," said Capt. Bill Monahan of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. "He's 15 and a half. And he's lived the life of a rockstar."

Hunter, a border collie, helped save four lives in the 2010 Haiti earthquake and was named the 2010 Firefighter of the Year.

"We had never rescued a live human being going back to Oklahoma, 9/11, they were deceased," Monahan said. "So this was a milestone. He was the first non human to win firefighter of the year that year."

The canine also helped out in the Japan earthquake in 2011 as well as the 2008 Chatsworth train derailment and other tragic events.

Monahan's wife Tammy said Hunter helped get her through chemotherapy.

"He's going to leave a hole that can't be filled," she said.

On Thursday, Hunter was honored with a trip to L.A. County Fire Department Station No. 136 in Palmdale and then surrounded by family in Fullerton where he ate cheeseburgers, french fries, a milkshake and a cake.

Hunter was in acute kidney failure and experiencing seizures and in a lot of pain, family members said, and was later taken to a veteran in Garden Grove where he was put down.

Monahan said he has refused to get another dog since Hunter retired from service in January.

"I could not duplicate him," said Monahan, adding he plans to retire also. "But I'm going out winning the Super Bowl."