From mission ready to couch ready: Team Robins MWD retires from service

  • Published
  • By C Arce
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Team Robins military working dog, Eris, recently retired from service and is now suiting up for some much-deserved couch time with his former handler.

On May 31, 2024, a retirement ceremony was held for Eris at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, surrounded by Team Robins members, including 78th Security Forces Squadron Defenders and base leadership.

Eris was born in the Netherlands on Nov. 22, 2014, and served for eight years.

He performed various duties during his service, such as searching contractor vehicles, walking patrols throughout installations, and guarding installation gates whenever needed. He performed substance detection and patrol to protect Robins AFB, designated visitors and VIPs. He also served in 20 United States Secret Service missions and deployed once in Africa.

Maj. Chad Jessup, 78th SFS commander, talked about Eris’ experiences in his military service. From protecting three U.S. presidents through USSS missions, to suffering an injury that ultimately led to his retirement.

“Eris demonstrated the highest level of resilience and became a shining example in overcoming the many challenges we all face in life,” Jessup said. “He suffered a catastrophic spinal injury leaving him partially paralyzed…However, he never stopped fighting. With lots of TLC from our phenomenal vet corps and with our amazing MWD handlers at his side, 80% of his movement has been restored, affording him the opportunity to enjoy his retirement.”

Senior Airman Skylar Armstrong, Defender with the 78th SFS, adopted Eris after working together for a year and a half.

She shared Eris was her first MWD and he has helped her become a proficient handler.

“He knew the game well, way better than me,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first dog to learn from. I’m so grateful to have him at home with me. We formed a very strong bond and have been there for each other through a lot. I love Eris and I knew no matter what obstacle I was going to make it work to have him on my couch at home.” 

In 2000, congress introduced Robby’s Law, which changed procedures to allow working dogs to be adopted by private citizens, provided the dog passed specific behavior assessments. This law is what made it possible to allow Eris, and numerous MWDs, to be adopted after retirement.