March 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm


By, Major David A. Haigh, USAF Commander/Chief of Police 460th Security Forces Squadron Buckley AFB, CO

Military Working Dog (MWD) Pier (Tattoo: M203) is a Yellow Lab. He was born on August 25th, 2006 and six months later he started his military career at Lackland AFB in the DoD Military Working Dog Schoolhouse. MWD Pier deployed to an undisclosed location in The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR).  Thousands of vehicles and hundreds of buildings were searched and secured by Pier.

His six month tour in the war would leave him more than capable for the terrible event that occurred in the Century movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO. The suspected shooter, James Holmes, was a Neuroscience PhD Candidate at the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) in Aurora, just a few miles away from Buckley AFB. Since all Local Law Enforcement K9 resources were tied up at the movie theater and the suspect’s apartment, a request for help was sent to the Air Force. The Air Force answered the call with six Military Working Dogs and eleven handlers. MWD Pier was at the lead of this team. They searched the entire UCH campus (over 5 Million Square feet) and declared it “All Clear” for students, faculty, staff, and patients to safely return.   MWD Pier was badly injured on this mission. While searching for explosives on the campus he saw what he thought was a continuous grass field. But it was in fact a two story drop from one grass field to another grass field 25ft below. His handler screamed and ran for the cliff as he saw his buddy fall over it. He climbed down to find MWD Pier twitching and whining in pain at the bottom. He had sprained his back and cracked a vertebra in a selfless act to save lives. We thought we might lose him. His attitude and resiliency proved us wrong. Adversity overlooks no one as MWD Pier would be forced in to physical therapy and two months of bed rest. After the much needed rehabilitation and rest Pier recovered from this horrific back injury.

On a routine checkup at the vet he had a tooth that was causing him pain so it was pulled. The veterinarian saw what he thought was a black fibrous tissue on the root of the tooth so he had it sent to the lab as he suspected it was cancerous. After many trials and examinations MWD Pier was diagnosed with Maxillary Fibrosarcoma. This meant he had cancer in his upper jaw and nasal area and was suspected to pass away if not removed. Shortly after the diagnoses Pier was adopted into a home with a loving family that could financially take care of his cancer treatment. There was no other option, he had to be saved! They searched for the right place, CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital called and the right place found them. He has since had the Maxillary Fibrosarcoma tumor removed but there were ‘dirty margins’ so he is now on the tail end (pun intended) of radiation treatments to kill the rest of the cancer.

He can now finally live and be happy. No more laboring for hours on a deployment in 100 degree weather with 100% humidity. No more anxiety of a two story fall and no more dangerous stunts, like sniffing for bombs. Still living on Buckley AFB, Pier has traded in his concrete bed for a cushioned couch. Instead of waking up to dogs barking in doggy jail cells, he will wake up to kids laughing, a loving Mom and Dad spoiling him and much deserved, comfortable retired life!

While the family is willing to go into debt for Pier, if anyone would like to make a donation to cover medical expenses which are now totaling to about $10,000 the family has created a fundraiser page he also has his own Facebook Page Help K-9 Pier Kick Cancer’s ASS for anyone wanting to follow his journey or ask questions.