They patrol some of the most dangerous areas of war zones, sniffing out bombs, and today they're hanging up their leash.

  A group of military working dogs retired at Randolph Air Force base in a first of its kind ceremony, receiving a certificate of meritorious service.

  "I'm in awe of what he's done," Lee Erlewine tells 1200 WOAI news. "He's a war hero."

  He adopted Kevin, a special search dog who served with the Army's 5th Engineering Battalion.  On deployment in Iraq, he sniffed out two 500 pound bombs, saving the lives of his unit.

  Another dog retiring today is Leo, who was trained as a drug sniffing dog at Lackland Air Force Base.  Her handler, SSgt Rachel Lopatesky says he's more than just an animal.

  "They're not equipment either," she explained.  "They're your partner."

  Their their human counterparts, these pups must now transition from working in a war zone to family life.  There are programs to desensitize the animals, including treatment for post-traumatic stress. 

  "We thought it was going to be a rough transition," SSgt Lopatesky smiled.  "But I think he's going to be a good couch potato."