Veteran's sacrifice means military dog gets a new life in Milwaukee

Posted at 10:20 PM, Nov 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-11 23:22:30-05
MILWAUKEE -- One of man's best friends first served his country protecting his fellow soldiers from bombs, but when his time in the military was done his future was unclear --  until two Milwaukee police officers stepped in. 
Zender is now busy at work. He is a bomb-sniffing dog at the Milwaukee Police Department, but last year he was living a different life. 
"He was a working dog in Afghanistan," said Officer Scott Kaiser who is also in the Army Reserves.
Zender was brought over to find IEDs and quickly became friends with Kaiser.  
"I would socialize with him, take him for walks, feed him," Kaiser said.
When Zender's time was up in the military, Kaiser had a plan. He would bring him back to Milwaukee to live with his family. The problem came when Zender met Kaiser's other dog. They did not get along, they fought. His friend offered to keep him until Kaiser came back from active duty. 
"We thought it was going to be a month-long process," officer Craig Leffler said.
But the dogs never got along, so Kaiser gave Zender to Leffler.  
From the get go, Zender couldn't stop finding what he was trained for. Every day for almost two weeks, Zender found Leffler's gun safe and sat. Word eventually got around in the Milwaukee Police Department and Leffler was asked if Zender could be a K-9 officer.
"We had to find a kennel that could train me. Zender already knew what he was doing, I did not," Leffler said.
Kaiser still gets to see his friend since the three are all Milwaukee police officers. But he said he tries not to confuse Zender and lets him be with Leffler when he's working.
"He protected a lot of people in Afghainstan and he gets to do it here in the city of Milwaukee and gets to do it with a great person," Kaiser said.
Leffler said he's grateful to Kaiser because of his sacrifice both serving his country, and giving up Zender it meant he got a promotion to become a K-9 officer.
Zender has been busy working all the major Milwaukee events including Summerfest and all the presidential candidate visits.