Chuck and Gabe: A study in courage

ArtistJerry Andriozzi
WriterBob Schulman

It’s not known how he exactly made his way from a Texas pound to a military compound, but there he was in his new career as a military dog. 

Every dog may have its day, but you wouldn’t know it from Gabe — who was proving every day how unfit he was for the job. 

He didn’t know how to sit, didn’t like looking for things, and he’d most likely bring you a loaded bomb as sniff one out. 

But his dog handler, drill Sergeant Chuck Shuck (you got a problem with that name?) took a liking to this goofy three year old yellow Lab and got him to somehow pass his final military evaluation at Nuna, Arizona in July of 2006. 

Seventeen days later, they were on an Army plane to Iraq, together, ready to fight for this country. 

Overcoming his fear of loud noises, (not easy when they’re shooting at you) Gabe led Chuck to over 200 missions, racking 26 “finds”, which made Gabe the most successful detection dog of the year. 

They were inseparable; Shuck would take Gabe to visit other soldiers who were having a hard time, and cheer them up with his personality. 

Chuck made it official after the war and adopted Gabe. (Some suspected it was the other way around.) Retirement? Not a shot. 

The pair spent most of their time visiting school children and wounded veterans, and Gabe's charitable contributions won him American Hero Dog of 2012 at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. 

In the end, Gabe confronted something he couldn’t beat, and by the time the cancer was detected, it was too late to treat the illness. 

Gabe took his last breath at 12:44 p.m. Sgt. 1st Class Charles “Chuck” Shuck notified thousands of online followers. 

He died in Chuck’s arms. 

A dog’s life, well spent, saving countless lives.

Overcoming fear, as all military dogs have to do. 

A friend indeed to Chuck. 

And, in deed, to everyone he came in contact with.