Retired military dog sniffing out the competition

Gabe is currently in first place in his category for the 2012 Hero Dog Award.

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- If Gabe could talk, heâ??d have some amazing stories to tell.

Heâ??s completed hundreds of combat patrols in Iraq and saved countless lives, all on four legs.

Gabe is a retired military dog. The former pound puppy made a name for himself while he and his handler, Sergeant 1st Class Charles Shuck, worked to sniff out weapons, munitions, and other dangerous items in Iraq.

â??He can pick up things we canâ??t see,â?? says Sgt. Shuck. â??He can take the bad guys off the streets.â??

Sgt. Shuck says while Gabe helped keep soldiers safe as a search dog he also helped boost morale by cheering up troops after they lost a fellow soldier.

Gabeâ??s outstanding service has earned him several accolades through the years and heâ??s now a nominee in the 2012 American Humane Associationâ??s Hero Dog Awards. The award recognizes the powerful relationship between dogs and people.

Gabe has received a lot of support from the community in the competition. Heâ??s currently in first place in his category and his Facebook page has more than 13,000 likes.

The 9-year-old Gabe has now traded in his camouflage for a life of leisure in Columbia. Sgt. Shuck was able to adopt him and spoils him with treats, toys and play.

â??I really wouldnâ??t know what to do if I didnâ??t have this boy everyday,â??

To vote for Gabe as the 2012 Hero Dog, click here.

To become a member of Team Gabe on Facebook, click here.