K-9 that served in Afghanistan laid to rest in Irving

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A retired military dog that died last week will be honored Thursday for his years of service overseas and at home.

Sgt. 1st Class Benno was trained to hunt for explosives. While he was with the United States Army he was deployed to India and Afghanistan.

Benno’s handler, Sgt. Matthew Deford of Irving, said he saved his life and the lives of countless other American soldiers in Afghanistan.

“What he does and what he did for all our security missions and details, he had multiple finds and those finds could have… you never know who could have been injured or unfortunately killed by those finds,” he said. “It’s my pleasure to honor him. He deserves it.”

Benno also conducted explosive sweeps for events involving former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama in Washington D.C.

He was retired in 2012 and that’s when Deford formally adopted him.

“I was very emotional. I was extremely excited. I had said goodbye once and I didn’t know if I’d see him again,” he said. “We spent almost three years in Alaska together. I deployed while I was in Alaska with a different dog and he kept my pregnant wife and my son safe at home.”

Saying goodbye to him again on Friday was tough.

“He was my partner and my best friend. Life will never be the same without him,” Deford wrote in Benno’s obituary.

The service for Benno will be held at Oakview Baptist Church in Irving at 10:30 a.m. It’s open to the public.