2:15 PM PDT, July 20, 2021
Her longtime handler, retired Marine Master Sergeant Chris Willingham, carried the dog’s ashes behind the canine honor guard during the ceremony for the 14-year-old German Shepherd.
“Lucca saved my life on multiple occasions,” Sgnt. Willingham told Inside Edition.
In 2016, Lucca was awarded the Dickin Medal, which is the highest honor a military service animal can get. Lucca was the first working dog in the military to receive it.
On her last patrol in Afghanistan, an explosive device went off and Lucca’s left leg had to be amputated. She was then sent to rehabilitation.
“She came running up to me and jumped on me and started licking my face and that’s when you know you’re in Lucca’s good graces,” Willingham recalled of their reunion after the rehabilitation.
Old age finally took Lucca, and while her heroic life came to an end, she was celebrated at the Michigan War Dog Memorial, where hundreds of Americans came to pay their respects and fellow dogs of war walked in formation to honor their comrade.