Wow!!! We made it! We reached the last day of the Blogging A to Z Challenge!! We reached the Zenith!! It seems like the month just Zoomed by! Some of the pets we met were a bit Zany, don’t you think? Some were filled with Zest and were Zippy-on-the-spot in protection of their humans. Some lived in Zoos and some had their own Zones throughout the globe. You already know what day this is—it’s “Z” Day!!!! It’s also the only Sunday post so I’m combining this post with a selfie!!!
For Z-Day, I have Zenit and Ziva to tell you about. Both are German Shepherds and working dogs in uniform.
In the beginning, Marine Cpl. Jose Armenta looked at his new canine partner, Zenit, as just a piece of Marine “equipment.” Zenit was a certified explosive-detection dog and wasn’t treated as a pet. After training they flew to Afghanistan where they led security patrols through the desert. One summer day they were searching for IEDs ahead of the platoon when Zenit froze. He had sniffed one out. Armenta marked the bomb for removal later and on they went. Then Zenit froze again four more times, each time finding another IED. As they walked on Armenta took a wrong step and hit a mine. He flew 20 feet across the desert. He survived but lost both legs above the knees. While Armenta went into the hospital to recover, Zenit was assigned a new handler. During his recovery, the Marine realized just how much he missed his partner and how important Zenit was to him. Zenit was no longer ‘just a piece of Marine equipment’, but a friend. It took some time but in 2012 Armenta was able to adopt the war dog when he retired. Now the two are never separated and Zenit is treated as the beloved pet and friend he is. Today the retired war dog lives in San Diego with two fur siblings, Boston terriers Oreo and Sassy, and Armenta, his wife and son. Now, instead of sniffing out IEDs, Zenit sniffs out balls and other toys during games of fetch with his family.
Jose Armenta is profiled in the June issue of National Geographic’s cover story, “Hero Dogs.” He tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about his and Zenit’s life together in the Marines, and how civilian life has changed the German shepherd.
And last, but certainly not least, the final animal in our quest to learn about these wonderful and amazing animals this month, is Ziva. In Seattle, Washington, Ziva, aged 8, is famous as the “dog who saved Christmas.” A burglar had broken into a jewelry store before Christmas, 2013 and stole almost $8,000 in merchandise. Ziva and her partner, Officer Mark Wong, tracked down the suspect – Ziva sniffed him out hiding under a parked car. And thanks to Ziva almost 100% of the merchandise was recovered. Another arrest Ziva helped with was cornering 3 suspects who were stealing metal from a compressor. All three went to jail. Officer Wong also takes Ziva to area schools where she is a hit with the students. Ziva’s most recent success was on March 2, 2017 when a couple of teens broke into a Seattle home. The first suspect surrendered immediately upon seeing Ziva and the second tried to run away but wasn’t able to evade Ziva’s superior detection skills. Afterward, officers booked the 15-year-old into the King County Youth Service Center and the 18-year-old into the King County Jail for burglary.
And, to be fair, there is one more Z dog – Zoe, who we found when researching Ziva. Zoe is (possibly) a chocolate Labrador retriever and another K9 with the Seattle Police but she is a Narcotics Detection Police Dog. Zoe, age 8, has served with the Seattle Police Department for six years. Over the years, Zoe located numerous hidden compartments in vehicles, resulting in the seizures of narcotics and currency.
Well, that’s it for another year! I’ll do a wrap-up post tomorrow then I’m going to sleep for 5 days! (not really!) Thank you for checking us out each day during our A to Z journey. We appreciate you and enjoyed bringing you some little tidbits of information to broaden your horizon.
Love y’all from A to Z!