CWD Carlos Ridpath EDD (ret.)
Explosive Detection Dog CWD Carlos retired in 2011 at 8 years old from protecting US and ISAF forces in continuous deployment for nearly 5 years. CWD Carlos, who worked with the US Army's 3rd & 4th Infantry Divisions in Baghdad for 2½ years, was then transferred to Kandahar in 2009 to work in direct support of US Special Forces on the front lines.
Hero dog Carlos is credited with actual finds on missions which saved countless American Soldier lives. As Carlos aged, he was transferred to work with ISAF. Sadly, upon retirement the contracting company farmed Carlos out to a local Afghan national where he suffered neglect. To this day, Carlos still carries the ligature mark scars on his back legs from hobble-style restraints
Fortunately for Carlos, he was eventually reclaimed by the Contractor in Kabul until his adoption by the Ridpath family allowed his "Freedom Flight" HOME! Ever the Noble Warrior, in retirement Carlos has survived Cancer, Spleen and Laryngeal Paralysis surgeries. Carlos continues to joyfully serve his many friends and is a Goodwill Ambassador for Military Working Dog Adoptions. In order to bring awareness to the contributions of all working dogs, Carlos attends events, visits schools and never meets a stranger. He received a USWDA Medal of Recognition and was honored in Colorado Springs as a "2012 Hometown Hero." A true Hero who saved countless lives while deployed, a Warrior with a zest for life in spite of challenging medical issues: CWD Carlos inspires everyone he meets!
I am a retired CWD (Contract Working Dog) that was trained in Explosives Detection and here is my story before I retired.
For 3 years I did checkpoint work in the green zone in Baghdad, Iraq and assisted with missions of the local buildings surrounding the green zone in support of the 3rd ID and the 4th ID. Since I now live in Colorado Springs, I hope to see some of the troops that I helped protect while there.
From Iraq, I went to Kandahar, Afghanistan where I worked in direct support of US Special Forces in various forward areas and providing safe routes.
As I got older, I was transferred out of DOD support and started working checkpoints with NATO forces to keep their troops safe.
I was credited with actual finds on missions that prevented attacks and provided safe routes for our troops. I'm glad I could help protect our troops, they were my friends. Unfortunately, age crept up on me and I developed a cataract in one of my eyes and arthritis so I was retired and moved to Kabul, Afghanistan where I waited until someone wanted to bring me home. They say I retired unofficially as a Colonel. I heard that was good.
Thank You to - Capt Courtney Hemmert for finding my new family and my buddy Lt Col Matt Stone for bringing me home. I'm here if either of you ever want to come by and play ball.
A friend of my former handler said I was a loyal friend and always made everyone laugh. I guess I am sorta silly at times and that was very important for our troops in that environment they say.
My mom was real worried about me after the first vet visit. They discovered a tumor that had to be surgically removed immediately. The test results came back confirming the tumor was cancer. Mom said that was not good so I went to have an ultrasound done to see if it had spread. Nope. Hadn't spread, but mom was upset still. I didn't understand at first until she said I had to have another surgery quickly. They found another tumor on my spleen that was the size of a baseball. Is that like a tennis ball? I'm feeling pretty good now but mom says I can't play for long periods of time because of my spleen being gone. I have to pace myself.
In November 2011 my Doc said I was in the early stages of a condition called Laryngeal Paralysis which means i had trouble breathing and drinking water. All of a sudden, it got really bad and was life threatening and I had to have hopefully my last surgery May 9, 2012. Mom said I was in respiratory distress. I couldn't breathe. If the emergency surgery wasn't scary enough, they found I had pneumonia as a result of trying to breathe and getting fluid in my left lung so I had to stay in the ICU for a couple extra days while they doctored me for that. I made it through and am enjoying my retirement.
I am now a Goodwill Ambassador for Military Working Dog Adoptions and visit schools, special events and organizations spreading awareness of MWDs and CWDs and the work we do protecting our troops.