Farewell to a True American Hero

It is with great sadness that I write you today to say that American Hero Dog Gabe passed away yesterday. On thisValentine’s Day, people around the world were heartbroken to learn Gabe made the journey across the Rainbow Bridge. Our thoughts remain with Gabe’s father, Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Shuck as he deals with the loss of his best friend, and a true American Hero in every sense of the word.

Gabe and Sgt. Shuck demonstrate the true power of the human-animal bond, the inextricable link between people, pets, and the world we share. This dog was languishing in a Houston shelter before he was adopted and trained by the military to perform the duties of sniffing out dangerous weapons. We’ve always known that adopting dogs saves lives, but in this case the dog turned that around to save countless human lives! The pair was deployed to Iraq and together went on 210 missions, with 26 finds of explosives and weapons, earning 40 medals and coins of excellence for their work.

But Gabe’s duties went far beyond the battlefield. While in Iraq, he also served as a therapy dog, bringing comfort and hope to his fellow soldiers. Following retirement from active duty, Gabe kept very busy visiting wounded warriors in hospitals to provide comfort and by visiting schools with his dad to teach and inspire children.


Both he and Sgt. Shuck are shining examples of courage and valor in the face of adversity. And due to his incredible accomplishments, millions of Americans voted Gabe as the Military Dog of the Year and the American Hero Dog of the Year at the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™.

We know the loss of a beloved pet can have a lasting, emotional effect on people, and Gabe will continue to live on in the hearts of everyone here at American Humane Association and anyone who was touched by the heroic acts of this beautiful lab.

Please remember to hug your pet today, because nothing is stronger than the human-animal bond, and on Valentine’s Day, it is the least we can do to show love and compassion for our best friends.

Let us know in the comments below this post how a pet has touched your life.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at American Humane Association.


Bookmark and Share

17 Responses

  1. Doris DuFresne February 14, 2013 / 8:39 am

    I have been a loyal fan of Hero Dog Gabe for almost 3 years. I voted for him every day for Hero Dog of the Year last year. My friends in North Carolina met Chuck and Gabe at an event they were attending, and I always hoped to be able to do the same. Seeing the post yesterday on my page that Gabe had passed away broke my heart. Gabe was two of the things I love most–military, and a dog. He was the best of the best and will be greatly missed, especially by his owner, Chuck….my thoughts and prayers go out to him for this great loss of his best friend…

  2. Deborah Liebenau February 14, 2013 / 8:47 am

    Awe, I will will be praying for you for God’s comfort and peace for you!!!! Gabe was a very special gift and blessing from God and is now in heaven!!!! Gabe will be greatly missed by all of us and will (always) be remembered!!! When i have had beloved pets like family pass I got urns for them and put photos of them on it and actually have one them on my walnut case in our family room. You gave Gabe a good and happy life God bless you!!!!!

  3. Debbie February 14, 2013 / 8:54 am

    So many pets have touched my life, I could write a book on them. I’ve slept on the floor with them while they’ve been sick and they’ve stayed by my side through thick & thin. I’ve always chose not to buy, but to save a life. My newest addition was a Christmas gift, a little wolf/lab, he came at the perfect time as I just didn’t know what was around the corner. Within weeks of each other I lost my father, mother-in-law, and a close friend. It was 3 of the hardest weeks of my life. They could sense my sorrow & hurt and never left my side. My little puppy stayed in my face licking all my tears, when he wasn’t there my other furbaby & rescue dog were. It’s amazing how they knew just when to come up to me & nudge me. A gently nudge that let me know everything was going to be alright. Chuck unselfishly let the world get to know Gabe. Gabe has left a lasting impression on me, as well as millions of others. RIP Gabe & I know I’ll see you at the rainbow bridge, along with my furbabies.

  4. Arleen February 14, 2013 / 9:24 am

    Wonderful tribute to an amazing dog. My heart goes out to Sgt Shuck cuz I know he is hurting at the recent death of Gabe.

  5. Jeannette Fox February 14, 2013 / 9:39 am

    What a precious testimony. He will leave an everlasting legacy!

  6. Fran February 14, 2013 / 9:54 am

    Thank you for writing this tribute. I have been heartbroken since I heard the news yesterday. I hope Sgt. Shuck knows that we are all thinking of him during this sad time.

  7. andrew February 14, 2013 / 10:04 am

    r.i.p. gabe and ty for all u have done

  8. Lynne February 14, 2013 / 10:08 am

    All of us looked forward to seeing Gabe daily, and keeping up with him and his magnificent work. He will be sorely missed by everyone he touched, and it truly feels like we’ve lost a best friend. Sleep in peace, sweet Gabe. I know that he and Chuck will be together again, when he meets him at the Rainbow Bridge someday. Until that time, hold onto the memories of all of the love you shared, and the precious bond that can’t be broken by time or space. Love and prayers to Chuck, Duke and Lena, and of course, sweetest Gabe.

  9. charlotte Sandvej February 14, 2013 / 11:00 am

    I feel so sad for Sgt. Shuck , and I know how he feels.
    My heart goes out to him!

    Our beloved dogs will always be with os, their spirits never leave us.
    Love from Denmark

  10. Susan Delk February 14, 2013 / 11:05 am

    What a beautiful tribute to an American Hero! Chuck allowed each of us a glimpse into Gabe’s life before retirement and what he kept busy with after retirement. I am so thankful to have happened onto their page last year and am thankful to have had a year to watch Gabe be honored for all that he did for our country and the soldiers fighting to keep us free. Rest in peace sweet boy and look out for my “Lucky” over Rainbow Bridge. Praying for Chuck.

  11. WD Fincke February 14, 2013 / 11:22 am

    I wrote this for Chris Kyle…But I can not think of a more appropriate time to re-post it for another two true American Heros……
    At Heavens Gate another warrior stands; He’s protected or Rights, our Freedom, and our Lands. Though many are saddened by the loss of this Brave Man,(Dog) God says to us…Don’t worry…he’s now in MY Hands.

  12. Janis K February 14, 2013 / 11:39 am

    How very sad – our pets are definitely family and our best friends – Prayers for Sgt Shuck today ! God Bless You!

  13. Allison Carney February 14, 2013 / 11:44 am

    My heart goes out to you Chuck. Losing a 4 legged friend is very hard. Gabe will always be a hero to me. Have fun over the Rainbow Bridge!!!!!!!!

  14. Marie February 14, 2013 / 11:47 am

    What a beautiful tribute for amazing Gabe. Hugs and prayers.

    Many years have gone by since my sweet Pancho, along with many more that have a special place in my heart.
    I now share my home with Sophie my chocolate lab and the house goof ball and sweet Jasmine my yellow lab and therapy dog. Knowing how strong the human animal bond is, I wanted to share these amazing creatures, the gift they are to us.

    45+ Years Later
    Poncho My First Rescue
    When I was in Jr High School my older brother found a Chihuahua in his car. Yes someone put her there; they didn’t want this poor dog anymore. She was about 8 years old and had a very large fatty tumor on her tummy. We spent some time trying to find the owner and in the mean time we all wanted to be friends with this scared dog. She would not let anyone of us near her, spending all her time on a blanket in our laundry room. So every day after school I would go and sit several feet away from her and just talk to her. I would do this for about an hour everyday and then again in the evening. After a short time of me just talking to her she decided that I was the one. I went outside one day and walked a few blocks only to hear this barking behind me and here was this little scared dog running as fast as she could to get to me. My mother later told me that as soon as I went out the door she was running to the windows and doors to get to me. For the few short years that she was with us she was always by my side. Poncho rescued me by teaching me the unconditional love a dog can give. How a dog can learn to trust again. Poncho opened up in me the love I have to give them. She taught me that even though the journey with them can be short, it’s a journey worth taking.

  15. Cyndee H February 14, 2013 / 2:22 pm

    Chuck, I am so sorry to hear about Gabe. I will miss his posts telling us about his daily adventures and accomplishments. Not only was Gabe an amazing dog but you are an amazing man, not only for serving our country but for your work with a resdue dog and the love that you gave him, for your many hours of volunteer work, the Facebook page that you started for Gabe that has touched so many and saved numberous other dogs, and I’m sure there are many other reasons. The World needs more people like you. God bless you!

  16. Donna C. February 14, 2013 / 5:53 pm

    Each of my precious dogs has touched my life, my heart, my soul, my spirit in ways you really can’t put into words – from an abandoned pup who was my earthly guardian angel to my abandoned handsome black lab who suffered with epilepsy, but gave me sweet love, smiles and beautiful memories for a lifetime. The pain of losing them runs so deep. All of my current precious dogs, one of which is blind, bring solace and joy to my life every single day. Dogs are so special and I ache for the Sergeant in his loss of precious Gabe – a beautiful dog both inside and out. Gabe’s sacrifices and valor will live on. His memory and story will continue through the lives of the people and children he touched. God Bless the Sergeant and his precious boy.

  17. John March 6, 2013 / 9:16 am

    I just lost my best friend yesterday Tootsie, she was a Pug and my best friend I miss here dearly, and know I’ll she her on the rainbow bridge. Thanks for sharing your story about Gabe I know how you are feeling.. God Bless
    Annapolis, MD

Leave a Reply