San Antonio —
The San Antonio Rampage hockey team honored Military Working Dog Sonja and her former handler Master Sgt. Casey Ouellette, Department of Defense MWD School Flight Chief, at the Rampage’s Pucks and Paws game March 24 at the AT&T Center.
Sonja was honored for faithfully serving more than seven years and embarking on several different combat missions, in addition to providing security for the President of the United States and various other dignitaries.
Ouellette and Sonja, having served side-by-side together over the years, have built a special bond.
“Sonja and I were together for about three years,” Ouellette said. “We’ve been through quite a few hairy combat-situations and she’s saved my life many times in some austere environments.”
Even though Sonja has had a distinguished career all-around, she really stood out on a deployment with Ouellette to Afghanistan in 2011.
“During that 2011 deployment, Sonja found multiple explosives and munitions a couple of times where we were really close to meeting our day,” Ouellette said. “On the combat patrol where we earned our combat action medals, an IED (improvised explosive device) blew up about 60 meters away from us. Once we realized what happened we started clearing out paths for people to get out of the area.”
Ouellette is looking forward to retired life with Sonja as her long and decorated career comes to a close in the next month.
“I’m looking forward to her being able to sleep on the couch instead of the kennel,” Ouellette said. “Her being able to get recognized here right before retirement is unbelievable. She’s my lifesaver and I’m so excited that she’s finally coming home.”