Handler James Overton
K-9 Ada Honored With Final Salute After Serving in Iraq, Afghanistan
With her health declining, it was time for Ada’s family to say goodbye to the Belgium Malinois that served her country overseas and in the United States. The community united to say farewell and to celebrate Ada’s career of service. K-9 Ada served State Department operations in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2007 to 2014, successfully performing hundreds of explosive detection sweeps and correctly identifying multiple bombs in vehicles. She retired from government service in 2014 and has been living with her handler, James Overton, and family in the Hampton Roads area. The 13-year-old Belgium Malinois spent more than half her life overseas, a life spent saving lives. Her health has been steadily declining to the point where she’s having trouble controlling her bowel movements, stumbles when she walks, and has trouble getting up and laying down. She’s been the definition of a warrior, but I don’t want her to suffer. She did a total of 7 years in Iraq and Afghanistan then another 2 years at Busch Gardens VA as an explosives detection dog. We are having her final walk at the Yorktown Animal Hospital on Friday at 1730. “That’s a long time for anyone. In dog years that’s 49 years worth of deployments,” Overton said. Ada’s health has been declining. Veterinarians advised her family that it was time to say goodbye to Ada. Friday, she took her final walk on the beach in Yorktown, one of her favorite spots. “We knew this day was coming, but it probably won’t set in for a couple of days,” Overton told 13News Now. “I’m just focusing on the time I’ve had with her.”Over the last few years, Project K-9 Hero has covered Ada’s medical bills. The organization helps cover those costs as well as food and end-of-duty expenses for retired military working dogs and police K-9 dogs. “The unfortunate thing is a lot of times the agencies these dogs work for don’t cover the retirement costs for these dogs. They don’t get retirement like we do,” Overton explained. He said Project K-9 Hero helped immensely, and Ada always will be part of his family. After they spent time together at Yorktown Beach on Friday, they headed to Yorktown Animal Hospital with a motorcade and full salute helping that final goodbye to Ada.