Reno was one of three retired military dogs who were flown to Sacramento earlier this month to meet their new families, said Heie. She and Reno, who met each other twice before, reconnected immediately and became instant best friends.

After serving his country honorably overseas and protecting the president, first lady and vice president, retired military bomb dog Reno has found a happy new home with his former handler’s mother in Lake Shastina.

Lori Heie, mother of Weed native SPC Sierra Skeen, said the 9 year-old German Shepard is learning to be an everyday dog without a life-or-death job. He’s sleeping more and getting more treats than ever before at his new home, which has plenty of room to run and people to love him.

After Reno began experiencing health problems earlier this year, he was retired from military work and was rehabilitated by Mission K9 Rescue in Houston, Texas. He spent three months there adjusting to retirement, explained Skeen, who was recently assigned a new K9 partner, a 9 year old German Shepard named Roy.

Reno was one of three retired military dogs who were flown to Sacramento earlier this month to meet their new families, said Heie. She and Reno, who met each other twice before, reconnected immediately and became instant best friends.

“He really pays attention to detail,” said Heie, who officially adopted Reno on Dec. 13. “He’ll go out the back door and stop to check everything out before we step outside. He looks in everything – inside the freezer, in drawers. He’s always smelling everything and on high alert.”

The transition hasn’t been without some difficultly – Heie’s cat is terrified of Reno, who doesn’t know what to make of the feline. But Heie said it’s an honor to provide a place for Reno to retire comfortably and because Skeen will deploy overseas in March, she didn’t want Reno to be with strangers.

Besides, Heie said having Reno is like having a piece of her daughter home with her.

Skeen is a 2010 Weed High School graduate who joined the Air Force in 2013. She was deployed from 2014-2015 as a law enforcement specialist to the United Arab Emirates before switching military branches in 2015 to become a Military Working Dog Handler for the Army.

After months of intensive training, Skeen graduated at the top of her class in 2016 and began her K9 handling journey with Reno at Fort Myer, Virginia, where they were both assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment Military Working Dog.

Reno, a German Shepherd PEDD (patrol explosive detector dog) was 6 years old when Skeen was assigned to him. Although she was his second handler, Reno was Skeen’s first dog and the two were together for three and a half years.

The two successfully passed the Military District of Washington Dog Certification three consecutive times. Together, they conducted numerous sweeps for the president, first lady, the vice president and other “VIPs,” Skeen explained, to ensure the area they checked was safe prior to their arrival.

During their time together, there were no incidents “which ensured the safety of multiple communities,” said Skeen.

While in Iraq, Skeen and Reno supported Operation Inherent Resolve with the 1st Armored Division. As a team they went on several combat patrols to sweep for Improvised Explosive Devices, searching an average of 100 trucks a week.

“I will forever cherish my days with Reno,” said Skeen. “He taught me a lot ... not only with my progression as a dog handler but he also taught me a lot about myself and for that I will always consider him the best partner and the biggest blessing I will ever have.”

Skeen gave a special thanks to her mother for adopting her best friend.

“My family and I are honored to be able to give Reno the retirement he needs with nothing but love, walks, tennis balls, and of course, his treats,” Skeen said.