It's easy to overlook how important service animals are in our daily life. If you don't depend on one of these incredible animals to help you in your daily life, you could forget that they're hard at work keeping us safe. For example: our police forces, firefighters and airports all rely on specially trained dogs to help protect us. These animals aren't treated like pets, they work long hours day in day out doing very difficult jobs. So we're glad that Gema, a bag-sniffing dog from the Orlando International Airport, is getting the recognition she deserves.
Gema is retiring after 5 years - or 35 dog years, roughly - on the force, patrolling the airport to sniff out contraband.
According to the airport, Gema is "one of our most loyal and dedicated employees," and her handler Eddie has nothing but good things to say about her. "In darkness she is my eyes," he said, "she's my sister, my protection. When lonely, she lets me know I'm not."
To celebrate Gema's big day, the airport brought in her "besties" - the airport's team of K9s - to party with her. There were dog treats, a special chew bone for Gema and even decorations.
Just when you think this party couldn't get any more perfect, the airport had one last piece of good news. Gema will live out the rest of her days in retirement with Eddie! What a nice end to her career, getting to spend her twilight years with her favorite person. We should all be so lucky!
Share these photos to wish Gema a happy retirement!