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There are few things on the Internet that call for a bigger box of tissues than those heartwarming reunions between soldiers and their dogs. So, brace yourself: We’ve rounded up some of our favorite moments from this year in honor of Veterans Day.
Casey, who served with Sgt. Ross Gundlach in Afghanistan, was returned to her handler in a surprise ceremony at the Iowa statehouse on Armed Services Day. Gundlach said he’d promised the 4-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever that if they “made it out alive, I'd do whatever it took to find her.”
And he did. When Gundlach, 25, left active duty to take classes at the University of Wisconsin, he started trying to track Casey down. He discovered that she’d finished her military service and was detecting explosives for the Iowa State Fire Marshal Division. State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds understood Gundlach’s attachment to the dog and worked behind the scenes to have Casey returned to him. After inviting Gundlach to the statehouse under the guise of meeting with a committee to try to win Casey back, Reynolds arranged a celebration to reunite the pair in the capitol rotunda.
Bailey, an Anatolian Shepherd mix, stole Staff Sgt. Kevin Brady’s heart when his National Guard unit adopted her at 8 weeks old in Afghanistan. But Brady had to leave the pup behind when his unit returned home.
With Bailey still on his mind, Brady called Doris Scofield, who works with Guardians of Rescue and Save-A-Pet, and asked for her help in bringing Bailey to the U.S. The Guardians raised $5,000 in just over a week — enough to rescue Bailey. “The least we can do is help [members of the military] get their war buddy home," Scofield said at the time.
Plenty of fireworks went off as the 11-month-old pup had a tail-wagging reunion with Brady at the Save-A-Pet facility in New York on July 4. "You saw the light bulb go off in her head” when she heard Brady whistle for her, Scofield said. Bailey smothered her old pal with happy kisses. The duo then had a road trip back to California, where the soldier lives with his two sons.
The Guardians of Rescue were also at the center of the sweet reunion between a New York National Guard unit and a dog family from Afghanistan. While they were on active duty there, they befriended a pregnant dog named Sheba. She gave birth to seven puppies, and the Guardsmen made sure they were all healthy and well fed. But when the U.S. started pulling troops out of Afghanistan, they had to leave Sheba and her puppies behind.
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