SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Beloved service dog Gunner, of the SD Gunner Fund, lost his battle with cancer, the Kinard family announced on Monday.

For ten years, the Great Pyrenees served as a loyal mobility service animal to U.S. Army veteran Sgt. Hamilton Kinard who was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, among 56 other injuries, after his unit took a direct hit from an IED.

“[Gunner’s] enduring legacy, deeply imprinted on the Richmond Hill / Savannah community and beyond, will be remembered fondly by all who knew him,” a statement from the SD Gunner Fund read.

Gunner was a mascot of sorts for the nonprofit SD Gunner Fund, whose mission is to provide help to veterans, first responders and special needs children through the training and adoption of service animals.

In 2013, Gunner became the first mobility service animal approved by the VA for traumatic brain injury in the Southeast Coastal region. His many contributions, including his part in Richmond Hill’s International Assistance Dog Week, earned him two Presidential Medals and numerous other recognitions.

The service dog’s life changed in 2021 when he was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma. His inspirational journey included an amputation procedure and an eventual custom prosthetic received on the TV show Wizard of Paws.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to the Savannah / Richmond Hill community and everyone
nationwide who rallied behind Gunner, embodying the spirit of unity and support that Gunner
himself personified so admirably,” the SD Gunner Fund stated. “In his memory, we pledge to continue serving and supporting those in need, one service animal at a time.