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A friend's final farewell

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Retired Military Working Dog Kali received her last call from 436th Security Forces Squadron members, MWD handlers and MWDs, April 22, 2021.

Following the ceremony, Kali was humanely euthanized after suffering from a tumor. She served as a MWD for seven years and was adopted by a previous handler, Staff Sgt. Brandon Soto, after her retirement in 2020.

Soto originally began working with Kali in 2017, shortly after her previous handler retired from the military.

“From the moment I was assigned to Kali, I knew she was something special. Not just to me but to many others as well,” said Soto.

Tech. Sgt. Steven Daniel, 436th SFS kennel master, described the bond between a handler and their MWD as one that takes time, patience and trust. You spend so much time away from your loved ones to build that team and bond, he said.

“She was the first one I saw every morning and the last I saw every night,” said Soto. “She wasn’t just my partner, she was my best friend.”

Last calls are a long-standing tradition for fallen police officers but the solemn ceremony extends to their partners as well.

“I’d like to thank the Dover AFB Honor Guard and Dover AFB veterinary clinic Kali such a respectful, sympathetic and smooth ceremony,” said Soto. “All in all, I could not have asked for a more perfect goodbye for Kali.”

Kali was medically discharged in 2020 due to hip dysplasia and a spinal condition. Just five months after her retirement, a tumor was discovered in her abdomen, causing her health to deteriorate rapidly.

“Letting her go was hard, but watching her in pain was even harder. I know the decision I made was the right one,” said Soto. “Kali was my best friend, and if there is a good place for us after we’re gone, I know she’s there.”