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Family adopts son's military dog: Diaz family brings Dino home after 3-year wait

A family adopted their son's military dog, a Belgian Malinois named Dino. Today shared the details on Wednesday of the story filled with heartbreaking details. While the family is thrilled to have Dino with them now, the union comes as a result of a heavy loss.

Family adopts son's military dog after Marine's death
Screencap via video

Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz was killed in Afghanistan after he rushed to help a fellow Marine in the midst of an explosion. Dino was with Diaz during the fatal incident on Sept. 28, 2011. Some time after Diaz died, his father got in touch with the military to see if they might be able to adopt the 6-year-old dog.

It took about three years for the family to adopt their son's military dog, for a number of reasons. Dino was still in service, and after that he needed to go through some behavioral tests to ensure he could adapt to a family setting. Christopher's father, Salvador Diaz, says it was worth the wait. He notes that while Dino of course doesn't replace Christopher, he does give them a bit of their son.

Christopher and Dino worked together from 2008 until the Marine's death in 2011. It seems Dino and the Diaz family are still working through some language barriers, as he is used to hearing commands in Hebrew as he was born and trained in Israel, while the Diaz family lives in Texas. That said, it sounds as if the family and new canine companion are getting along quite well.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz left behind a daughter, Mia, and a son, Jeremy. The kids are due to visit their grandparents in a couple of weeks, and they will get the chance to spend some quality time with Dino. Christopher's mother makes it clear that the three-year wait was indeed worth it. She says, “It's that small link that can make us all together again.” Dino was there with Christopher through the good and bad, and now they think, “OK, son, we've got him and he's going to be OK.”

KPBS shares that the family officially adopted Dino during a special Camp Pendleton ceremony. Christopher's mother Sandra Diaz shares that Dino will “be our baby,” and they're grateful to have a piece of their son to hold onto now after their heartbreaking loss. As tragic as the loss of Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz is, knowing the family adopted their son's military dog and will cherish him so much is certainly a heartwarming component to the story.