Lakewood Marine raising funds to buy his bomb-sniffing sidekick

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KABUL, Afghanistan (KDVR) — Richard White-Pickett has woken up in a 85-square-foot single room in Kabul for more than a year, and prepares for another day of serving his country.

The Lakewood Marine does contract work for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan’s capital.

But despite the cramped space and the long stints away from home in Colorado, there’s one thing that keeps him going: his roommate.

Abel is a bomb detecting K9, and White-Pickett has spent every moment of every day with him for more than a year.

“We’ll show up to a venue. We’ll clear the area and sweep it of any explosives,” White-Pickett said. “For every ounce of correction, I offer a pound of reward to show him the appropriate behaviors.”

White-Pickett will be coming home to Lakewood near the end of the month, but he won’t be able to bring Abel with him. The K9 is owned by AMK9, a company that produces Contract Working Dogs. 

“When I leave here, the company is going to take him back and my guess is they’re gonna put him on some TSA contract,” White-Pickett said.

White-Pickett initially asked if he could keep Abel as a service dog when he returned from their gig overseas, but was told no. Working in the business, White-Pickett knows roughly how much a K9 of Abel’s talents is worth, so he wanted to build an offer for the company that was hard to refuse.

“The goal is $25,000,” White-Pickett said. “In two months, Abel and I have raised $18,000 and I’m willing to part with whatever property I own to be able to achieve that goal.”

White-Pickett started a petition and created a GoFundMe telling his story to see if he can build enough support to get the company to change it’s mind.

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