Karen B. London
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Fallen Navy SEAL’s Dog Lies By Coffin
Image moves many people

Navy SEAL Jon Tumlinson died in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. After leading the family into the gym where the funeral was held, his dog Hawkeye stayed by the coffin. Jon’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton, took a photograph of Hawkeye lying by Tumlinson’s coffin, and this stirring image has attracted attention worldwide.

Among the many people moved by this photograph was Jon Lazar, who played football for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 1970s. Lazar has suggested to the Iowa football team that Hawkeye lead the team onto the field at a game this season as a way to honor Tumlinson, who is a native of Iowa. Lazar envisions the announcer telling the story about this dog’s actions at the funeral, which he thinks would bring the crowd to tears. (I think the idea is beautiful, but I am in favor of carrying it out only if Hawkeye would not be stressed by being in that situation. Some dogs can handle such crowds and noise, but many can’t.)

Though Hawkeye no doubt misses his lost friend, he does have a loving home. Tumlinson’s friend Scott Nichols is Hawkeye’s new guardian.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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