Fallen hero's family adopts war dog - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fallen hero's family adopts war dog

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Saturday, the family of a fallen hero made one amazing adoption. 

Staff Sergeant Christopher Diaz was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 by an IED but his partner, a military dog named Dino, managed to survive.

"Today may be an emotional, but nonetheless, a momentous occasion for us."

You may wonder why all this - a discharge ceremony for a dog?

"Your presence will be missed, but your name will never be forgotten."

But once you hear his story, you'll understand.

"Effective immediately, you are hereby discharged from active duty. And ordered to report to the Diaz family to be placed under their love and care."

For several years, Dino served with Staff Sergeant Christopher Diaz in Afghanistan. Their job was to sniff out IEDS and they were good, saving countless lives. Then came that day, the one Diaz's dad, Salvador still has a hard time talking about.

"On September 28th, 2011...excuse me," Salvador said. 

Killed by the very weapon they were looking for.

"As an American - I am grateful for his sacrifice, but as a father - I am saddened by the loss of my son," Salvador said. 

But Saturday, they got a small piece of him back.

"Thank you guys for taking such good care of him," Sandra Diaz said. 

Through a military program, Chris's parents applied to adopt Dino. And at 7-years-old, the retired Marine will now call El Paso home.

"He's very energetic, Chris was the same way. You can tell there's a lot of love in that dog right there," Salvador said. 

"Christopher used to show us pictures of him when he was out in Afghanistan. Just a beautiful dog," Sandra said. 

"Words can't express how we feel - emotional, happy, ecstatic...are we ready for this...I don't think so. Is Dino gonna be ready, I hope so," Salvador said. 

Dino's current handler says it should take about two weeks for Dino to realize who his new mom and dad are. But if their first meeting is any indication, he may already.

"Actually with my wife, he laid his head on top of her arms as my wife was crying a little bit," Salvador said. 

And that's why all this - a celebration of Dino's new family, the day of his discharge.

"We wish you fair winds and following seas as you begin your new life with the Diaz family. May you love and protect them, just as you and Staff Sergeant Diaz did for so many young Marines. Semper fi."

Staff Sergeant Christopher Diaz leaves behind two children and his family says they can't wait to meet the dog that served with their dad.

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