It’s been 51 years since U.S. Army veteran Mike Monahan said goodbye to Army dog Chico after he finished his tour of duty during the Vietnam War.
Even though many decades have passed, the pain Mike feels about leaving the loyal canine behind remains the same.
Mike and Chico were in a patrol team together, and the dog’s task was to alert his team for tripwires. He had even saved Mike’s life.
To this day, Mike feels incredibly guilty about leaving Chico behind, especially because the dog met a tragic fate not long after.
Along with dogs that served in the Army, Chico was needlessly euthanized a year after the U.S. Military pulled out of Vietnam. Other dogs were left to fend for themselves.
In an interview with WCPO, Mike said:
“It was really a committed relationship between Chico and I for a whole year, and on top of that, he saved my life, and there’s a lot of guilt leaving him behind.”
Before serving in Vietnam, Chico lived with his family in North Carolina. But as he grew older, the dog’s overprotective nature was interpreted as aggressiveness by his owners. So, they volunteered him for the U.S. Army.
Chico was eventually chosen to attend Scout Dog Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, and upon completion, he was shipped out to Vietnam.
During the war, Chico and Mike became partners and best friends. And to honor Chico’s sacrifices and share his story with the world, Mike wrote a book called “Chico’s Promise.” The book is written from the dog’s perspective and describes his life through his own eyes.
Here is one heartbreaking excerpt from the book:
“Then one day Mike entered my kennel, took a knee, put his arms around me and said, ‘I love you, I love you boy. I’m sorry I can’t do anything about this, I love you boy take care of yourself. Goodbye Chico. Thanks for saving my life, I promise to never forget about what a hero you are in my eyes.’ Then I heard a voice say, ‘Monahan, time to go. Jeep’s waiting,’ and just like that it was over, once again I was all alone. Abandoned.”
Judging by his words, it’s clear how much Mike valued Chico and how much he regrets leaving him behind all those years ago.
Mike knows he can’t change the past, but he can do something about the present. So, to honor the memory of Chico and all the 4,500 dogs that served in Vietnam, the veteran is working toward saving thousands of abandoned and homeless dogs.
Mike said he will donate a portion of the proceeds from “Chico’s Promise” to save the lives of dogs in shelters.
“I want to be able to raise money, and then what we’ll do is team up with selected no-kill shelters. Pay adoption fees and perhaps other fees,” he said.
He is taking this pledge even further by hoping to get other people involved in his goal of saving a thousand dogs for every year since Chico passed away.
“If I say I’m going to save ten dogs, who cares? But if I say 50,000 dogs, I think I can get the world behind me. I want to save dogs in his memory, I want him to be a national hero he deserves it.”
Mike also put up a Kickstarter with a fundraising goal of $35,000. So far, the fund has already exceeded that goal!
Mike hopes to release Chico’s story by June 2021. Each book will retail for $25.
And seeing how his fundraiser is performing, it seems like Mike will have no problem meeting his target date.
If you want to help fund the publishing of “Chico’s Promise,” you can donate to Mike Monahan’s Kickstarter.
Please share this story to honor Chico and the other great dogs who served alongside him during the Vietnam war.