Working Dog Vito

September 21, 2020

The Soldiers of the 901st Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dog) held a retirement ceremony for Sgt. 1st Class Vito here Sept. 17, praising him for his nearly nine years of dedicated service to the Army as a military working dog.

Vito, a Belgian Malinois who served as a Patrol Explosive Detector Dog and deployed to Qatar and Iraq, will spend the rest of his days at “Fort Couch”—slang for a place to relax—in Custer, South Dakota.

“He’s definitely earned it,” said Capt. Amie Young, the detachment’s commander, at the ceremony. “I’m glad that he made it back from deployment OK and he was able to make it back and get retired. He’s a very sweet dog and definitely made his mark and did his job in the Army for several years.”

Spc. Jericho Arengo, Vito’s handler for more than two years, said his stepfather and mother, the “commanders” at Vito’s new home, are adopting him, and he looks forward to seeing Vito again when he is home on leave.

Fort Couch is a coveted assignment among all military working dogs, Arengo said, including Vito. “He’s retiring, and he loves naps, and therefore a couch is a perfect place for any dog,” he said.

Vito should have plenty of years left to enjoy his retirement, Arengo said.

“As an older dog, you would think that he would slow down, and you’ll see every now and again that age is coming up to him, but there are some days where you wouldn’t think he’s 11 years old,” Arengo said. “He acts like a puppy, running around, still chasing tennis balls, sprinting as fast as he can.”

Arengo said he has enjoyed working with Vito while they were stationed together at Camp Zama, and considers himself fortunate to have deployed to Iraq with him. Unfortunately, however, Vito’s back gave out during the deployment.

“We had to come back from our deployment early, and that’s what made the vets decide to retire him,” Arengo said.

In addition to Soldiers from the 901st MP Det., Lt. Col. Demetrick Thomas and Command Sgt. Maj. Edgar Rodriguez, command team of the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, as well as Soldiers from the Camp Zama Veterinary Treatment Facility, attended.

Vito received the Army Commendation Medal during the ceremony, signed by Col. Thomas Matelski, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Japan.

In part, the certificate read: “Sgt. 1st Class Vito’s dedication to duty and professionalism contributed significantly to the detachment’s overall success. His performance is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Military Police Corps and reflect great credit upon himself, the 901st Military Police Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison Japan and the U.S. Army.”

After he received the medal, Vito barked as everyone clapped.

Arengo, who joined the Army about three years ago and has been a military working dog handler for more than two, thanked his fellow Soldiers for their support.

“I was very fortunate for all of your advice on how to be better with Vito and also for giving me the trust with Vito in going to Iraq,” Arengo said. “I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Sgt. 1st Class Luis Berber, the detachment’s kennel master, told the audience that Vito has had a good career in the Army, and he wishes him all the best in his remaining years.

“Thank you, Vito,” Berber said. “Thank you for all you’ve done.”

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News