Watching Nero cuddle in the arms of a volunteer at a kennel, it's hard to imagine that just two weeks ago, he was sniffing out landmines in Iraq.
Nero is one of five working dogs that just retired after at least seven years of work in Iraq.
These mine detection dogs are provided to Iraq and other conflict torn countries through an organization called the Marshall Legacy Institute.
"We provide the dogs to sniff out landmines so that it's safe for the children to play, for people to work, for animals to live and for communities to grow."
These dogs started their training in Texas as pups the Marshall Legacy Institute then took them to Iraq and trained local handlers who work for various non-governmental agencies.
They are among some 170 dogs that have been trained and deployed by the institute. Typically, handlers bond with their dogs and adopt them upon retirement, but that's not possible for Iraqi dog handlers.
"In Iraqi culture dogs are not recognized as pets."
And that where the SPCA International comes in. Just as they do for military service members through their Operation Baghdad Pups program they transported these five shepherds back to the United States and are now working to find them adoptive homes. Places where they will be rewarded for year of their lifesaving work.
"For the service that they have provided to Americans it's only fair that they get the royal treatment for their retirement and that's what we're all aiming to do is to get them into great homes where they're just going to get to do whatever they want."
And today, they already were beginning to explore their new life, frolicking in the grass is something they've probably never saw in Iraq and they are already making new friends, accepting plenty of head scratches and handing out some hand licks themselves.
The SPCA International specializes in assisting animals in areas of conflict and disaster. You can learn more about adopting these animals on their website SPCAI.org.