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Greene County Lost A Hero Friday
Updated November 17, 2014 7:27 AM
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(GREENE CO.) - Greene County lost a hero on Friday.

After a short illness, Jjackson, the retired Military K-9 who has spent the last eight months with his old friend and former military handler Greene County Sheriff's Deputy Harvey Holt, drew his last breath and bid farewell.

The Greene County Daily World reports, Jjackson, the former Air Force K-9 Explosive Detection and Patrol Dog was owned by former handler GCSD Deputy Harvey Holt. Holt said there was no official reason for Jjackson's passing other than perhaps his old friend thought it was time for him to finally rest.

"Between all of his medical issues and his old age he just decided it was time," Holt said sadly. "Up to about three days ago he had been perfect in every way. It's just one of those things, some dogs just decide it's time to go."

In the first few hours after Jjackson's passing, Holt says he received support from over 14,000 supporters from as far away as Australia and South Africa.

"I know he's touched people all around the world," Holt saus. "I just wanted everybody to know their well-wishes and prayers meant a lot over the last three days and that it kept me going."

From 2004-2007, the former Air Force Technical Sgt. and the Belgian Malnois explosive detection and patrol dog worked side-by-side for what Holt estimates were at least 100 combat missions together. They ranged from detecting explosives to rescuing fellow soldiers and other friendly forces. Holt made a promise to Jjackson that if he kept him safe in the Middle East, he would bring the dog home after the days of serving his country were through.

Jjackson was born and bred in the military at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. As a puppy he was destined to fulfill a role, that few people realize is so extensive in the military, before he was finally retired from active duty and made available for adoption.

Holt says there's a lot of people that are thankful for what Jjackson did while serving his country. He says there are countless soldiers, many of whom would refuse to sleep in the same tent with him afterwards in fear of being bitten, that have Jjackson to thank for keeping them safe and making sure they were able to return home.

Last March after a plethora of paperwork and red tape and thanks to the efforts of many, Holt and Jjackson were reunited.

"I never thought that people who didn't know him would do that and that didn't know me very well would do that for me," Holt said. "Everybody he met I know he touched a part of their heart and I know they touched a part of his heart."

Holt felt the kindness strangers and friends alike showed Jjackson was a reinforcement of what his friend had missed since the two parted seven years ago.

When asked how best to sum up Jjackson's life, Holt used two simple words -- pure love.

Holt admits he didn't believe he could have bonded with a dog as quickly as he did with his canine pal, but when it happened it was special, especially since the newly-trained K-9 handler had trouble finding just the right partner.

The love and the bond between the two continued well after Holt gave up the leash for the last time. He admitted he felt the loss of the dog after his time with Jjackson was over.

Holt didn't realize until their reunion that the love and respect was mutual. He had no idea Jjackson had missed his old friend and comrade as much as Holt had missed him.

Holt also credited Jjackson with helping his old handler through the difficulties involved with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Life after the military can be difficult, especially for a K-9 that spent the majority of his life either training or in the field almost constantly. In the case of Jjackson, life after the military was truly a retirement, one he adapted to well.

For one thing, he found a girlfriend according to Holt.

Dristan, the former Bloomfield Police Department K-9, and Jjackson quickly took up with one another and spent a great deal of time together.

"He was a lazy, happy house dog with a girlfriend," Holt says of his partner's final days. "He and Dristan never left each other's side. Once him and Dristan met, I could never separate them."

Holt says Jjackson also became quite the attention-seeker when it came to being in public.

When asked if there was a special memory he wanted people to remember about Jjackson, Holt said there were just too many to single out. Instead he said the last eight months have been a special time for both himself and the dog.

"There's so many memories and I just know the outpouring over the last three days has been a true honor," Holt said. "I believe in the last eight months it shows in the outpouring we got and the ambassador he was trying to be for military working dogs and the true spirit of honor of keeping that promise and the well-wishes we're receiving from throughout the world."

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