By Sam Dorman
Published October 30, 2019
"AMERICAN HERO!" President Trump tweeted on Wednesday. Beneath the text was a photo of him placing a paw-print medal on the pup as if he were at a White House Medal of Honor ceremony. His tweet came just hours before the White House's ceremony scheduled for Wednesday.
Trump previously praised the dog, a Belgian Malinois who helped defeat ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, on Twitter. The terrorist reportedly spent his last moments fleeing from the dog before committing suicide. When he detonated his suicide vest, he killed his three children and injured the heroic K-9 in the process.
"We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Trump tweeted on Monday.
The dog "performed a tremendous service," said Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. The various accolades foisted upon the pooch highlight the military's close working relationship with K-9s, and what goes into raising and training the reportedly 1,600 military working dogs, or MWDs, that serve alongside those on the frontlines.
Most dogs trained to serve in the U.S. military are Belgian Malinois and German and Dutch shepherds, according to the nonprofit U.S. War Dogs Association. These breeds are selected "because they are very aggressive, smart, loyal and athletic."
"That's the kind of dog you want to lead a patrol like this," Ron Aiello, a former Marine dog handler and president of the nonprofit, told The Associated Press. "They are the first line of defense. They go out front."
A Belgian Malinois also accompanied U.S. Navy SEALs on the 2011 raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden.
Fox News' Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.