Click to join our Facebook Fan Page and follow us on Twitter!

By Jim Hayden for The Holland Sentinel

K9 Search Dog Handler, Captain Marc Valentine, pets his search dogs Rico, left, and Val at the Montebello Fire Station in Montebello on Tuesday August 31, 2010. Photo by Keith Durflinger

Val is not just man’s best friend – he’s the oldest working employee at the Montebello Fire Department and reportedly the oldest working rescue dog in the nation.

Val, an Urban Search and Rescue canine with the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, is retiring after 11 years of service and countless rescue missions.

During his career, with owner and handler Capt. Marc Valentine of the Montebello Fire Department, Val has trained other rescue dogs, searched for survivors through rubble, and offered solace to firefighters responding to Hurricane Katrina.

The golden Labrador mix, which is five months shy of 13, will retire in October, and Rico, a 3-year-old Lab nearing the completion of his training program, will take over.

“Once he retires, Val will get a chance to enjoy being a good pet,” Valentine said. “He is as much of this department as anyone else.”

To read the rest click here.