Rescued therapy dog comforts families of fallen soldiers at Dover Air Force Base: 'Tremendous impact'

The family members of fallen soldiers don’t have to mourn alone.

Blaze, a therapy dog, has been introduced as Dover Air Force Base’s newest employee within the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations (AFMAO) unit in Delaware.

The 2-year-old standard poodle was originally rescued and trained in 2022 by the nonprofit Paws of War.

He now serves alongside his owner, United States Air Force Chaplain Captain William Kilgore.

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Blaze underwent several months of therapy and rehabilitation with Paws of War to heal from his injuries.

Those injuries were caused by “months of abuse and neglect by an illegal breeder,” the organization shared in a statement with Fox News Digital.

Capt. William Kilgore (pictured), a chaplain, embraces his Paws of War rescue dog, Blaze. (Paws of War)

After Blaze’s potential as a therapy dog was recognized, the pup was offered a full-time gig with Kilgore’s team.

Dover’s AFMAO unit oversees the transfer of fallen soldiers and welcomes those service members’ families to partake in dignified transfers.

Blaze has been able to “lift the spirits of those serving on-base and aid in therapeutic and emotional support to all that require or seek it,” the Paws of War organization told Fox News Digital.

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Kilgore (pictured) described the "tremendous impact" Blaze has had on those he’s met. (Paws of War)

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Blaze "lifts the spirits of those serving on-base," Paws of War reported. (Paws of War)

“Blaze provides comfort during times of crisis and stress at Dover,” Paws of War wrote.

Blaze’s day-to-day routine consists of attending meetings and interacting with base personnel and visitors.

Yet his biggest responsibility is welcoming the families of fallen service members.

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During the transfer of a flag-covered casket, Blaze stands by the AFMAO’s service men and women and meets with families upon their request.

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Blaze attends dignified transfers at Dover Air Base to provide support to military personnel and families. (Paws of War)

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Kilgore (pictured) officially adopted Blaze in 2023. (Paws of War)

“Blaze has had a tremendous impact on everyone who meets him,” Kilgore said in a statement.

“Since he’s joined us, every single family here for a dignified transfer has requested time with Blaze.”

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Paws of War co-founder Robert Misseri praised Blaze for working “so hard to bring so many people’s spirits up at some of the worst times in their lives.”

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Kilgore reported that "every single family" has requested time with Blaze since he took his post. (Paws of War)

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"He was born to do this," said Paws of War co-founder Robert Misseri of Blaze the therapy dog. (Paws of War)

“And to think Blaze was let down by people when they were keeping him in isolation for profit to breed him,” he said in a conversation with Fox News Digital.

“It’s like he knows he was born to do this.”

“He goes to work knowing that he needs to bring some joy in a dark time for people.”

To learn more about the vital work that Paws of War does on an ongoing basis, anyone can visit the group’s website, pawsofwar.org.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com.com/lifestyle.

Angelica Stabile is a lifestyle writer for Fox News Digital.

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