By Natela Cutter
Spc. Lingo retired from the Army Dec. 6, after three years of faithful service to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center as the institute’s mascot.
On the day of his retirement, Lingo received a certificate that officially absolved him of his duties, acknowledging him for his “exemplary leadership, dedication to excellence in participating in command runs, sporadic deer chasing, and devouring treats … while keeping with the finest traditions of military service…”
“I am going to miss Lingo greatly. He is such a joy to have at work, especially when you need a break,” said Theresa Bowker, a staff member at DLIFLC, who regularly walked Lingo.
“Lingo has been a fantastic dog for DLI,” said DLIFLC Commandant, Col. Gary Hausman. “I joke that he is more like a cat than a large dog … until you bring out that leash and his eyes get big because he is ready to go outside,” he said. “In the mornings, he sings! He walks around the front office and howls, and it’s fun to hear because it does come across as if he is singing.”
According to Hausman, Lingo’s routine included walking around to ‘say hello’ to all the staff members as they arrived in the morning. When important visitors came, Lingo would be the first to greet them at the door and promptly follow them into the commandant’s office with either a bone or toy in jaw.
“When I came to work in the mornings, he would enter my office to see me and give me a nudge. And not a simple nudge! He gives you a heavy nudge against your arm….so I asked staff what he wanted from me, and they said ‘a treat,’ but not ordinary treats,” explained Hausman, saying that the previous commandant gave Lingo tuna fish. As a result, Hausman began giving him hot dogs.
“Ordinary treats are not up to his standard,” Hausman said with a broad smile. “And now, he (Lingo) is moving on to greater things, to help out as a support animal,” said Hausman to about 30 staff members who had come to give Lingo another pat on the head before his departure.
Lingo was simultaneously adopted Dec. 6 by a staff member whose son, Michael Bugary, will train Lingo to become a therapy dog and continue his career helping people in the local community.
“I am excited to have him. Hopefully, I can give him a purpose,” said Bugary, who intends to have Lingo trained at the SPCA to become a therapy dog and continue his career helping people in the local community.
Lingo was adopted in November 2015 by then DLIFLC Commandant, Col. Phil Deppert. The idea to adopt a mascot came about at an SPCA presentation attended by senior leadership. What began as a joke soon became reality. “Getting approval to have a mascot was the fastest Judge Advocate ruling I have ever received,” said Deppert at the time.
Over the past three years, staff, faculty and leadership have all taken part in Lingo’s life, walking, feeding, and taking him home for the weekends and long holidays. Now Lingo will be part of a family with several other dogs. “And he is the biggest of them all,” said Bugary, with a smile.
You can also watch a video story about Lingo’s retirement:
Posted Date: 14 December 2018