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Grieving Family Adopts Fallen Marine's Military Dog

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Just because he was trained to sniff out bombs in war zones doesn't make this military dog any less of a companion.

The Diaz family adopted "Dino," a 6 year old Belgian Malinois, on Saturday, after military officials cleared the pup to be taken in by the family of Dino's handler, Staff Sgt. Christopher Diaz, who was killed in Afghanistan on Sept. 28, 2011.

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Family members say they hope Dino can help them find solace in the loss of their son, who was killed while coming to the assistance of a wounded fellow Marine, the Associated Press reports.

Special exceptions are made for grieving families looking to take in service animals that worked with loved ones lost in war. Dino, described as Diaz's "constant companion," certainly fit the bill.

"We know that he's not going to replace Christopher, but what he will do is give us a little bit of what Christopher loved and that was the Marine Corps, that was Dino." Salvador Diaz, Christopher's father, told ABC10.

"He is a duplicate of Christopher; I mean, it's just amazing," added Christopher's mother, Sandra.

Dino was formally discharged from active duty at a ceremony Saturday, after an unidentified military official honored his service.

"Effective immediately, you are hereby discharged from active duty. And ordered to report to the Diaz family to be placed under their love and care," the official said, according to CBS 8. "We wish you fair winds and following seas as you begin your new life with the Diaz family. May you love and protect them, just as you and Staff Sergeant Diaz did for so many young Marines. Semper fi."

The Los Angeles Times reports Dino will head home to live with his new family in El Paso, Texas. Prior to his adoption, the dog, which understands commands both in Hebrew and English, passed an exam to be sure he wasn't suffering from a canine form of PTSD.

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