Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach, while serving in Afghanistan, made a promise to Casey, the explosive-detecting yellow Lab who worked alongside him.
“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.
Gundlach, after completing his military service and enrolling at the University of Wisconsin, managed to find out that Casey had finished her military service and been sent to work for the state of the Iowa, detecting explosives.
Knowing it was probably just the first round of a long bureaucratic battle, Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, explaining the connection he felt with the four-year-old dog who’d been both lifesaver and companion. Gundlach wears a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo.
But, as reported by the Associated Press, things happened quickly.
“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures,” Reynolds said. “ … It just tugged on your heart.”
Reynolds got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, and it agreed to donate $8,500 to buy another dog for the fire marshal’s office.
Then, he got in touch with Gundlach, telling him that he needed to come to the state Capitol in Des Moines on Friday to plead his case before a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”
Gundlach, 25, showed up with his parents.
Reynolds told Gundlach the meeting had been delayed, but invited he and his parents to attend an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were already there, and knew — unlike Gundlach — what was about to happen.
That’s when Casey appeared.
A ceremony was held in which Gov. Terry Branstad officially retired Casey from active duty, thanking her for “a job well done.”
Casey was given to Gundlach, who put his head in his hands and cried.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.” During the 150 missions they performed together, Gundlach said Casey never missed an explosive. He credits her for making it back home safely. “I wouldn’t be here … any kids I ever had wouldn’t exist if Casey hadn’t been here,” he said.
His father, Glen Gundlach, seemed just as surprised.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “The state of Iowa, I love ‘em.”
(Photos: Charlie Neibergall / AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, armed services day, bureaucracy, capitol, casey, des moines, detecting, dog, dogs, explosives, fire, government, iowa, marine, marshal, military, pets, ray reynolds, reunion, reunited, ross gundlach, state
Jamie Carpentier decided after his boxer passed away to start looking for another dog. He got on his computer and started reading descriptions of adoptable dogs listed on the Humane Society of Greater Nashua website.
There, in the mix, was one that reminded him of his old basset hound, Ginger.
This one was 13, which, once he did the math, he realized was how old Ginger would be by now. This one was also named Ginger.
“It can’t be her,” he said to himself. “It’s been so long.”
Carpentier hadn’t seen Ginger in 10 years, not since his ex-wife got the dog in the divorce. What he didn’t know was that she gave the dog up up a short time later, and Ginger was adopted, spending the next ten years with another owner. When that owner became unable to care for her, Ginger was surrendered back to the shelter again.
Carpentier, after looking over the description, emailed the shelter, asking for photos of the dog. Once he saw them, he knew the shelter’s Ginger was his old Ginger.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day he went to the shelter to see her, the Nashua Telegraph reported.
“She heard my voice. I walked up to her and she kind of gave me a couple of licks or kisses. And I was like, ‘She knows who I am, she remembers my voice,’” Carpentier said.
“She was stuck to me like glue … I have her now, and she has a place to live and stay,” he said. “The end. It’s awesome.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, basset hound, bond, custody, divorce, dog, dogs, ginger, humane society of greater nashua, Jamie Carpentier, new hampshire, old, pets, reunion, reunited, reunites, shelter, surrendered
A heartless soul stole 7-year-old Mia Bendrat’s dog on Christmas Eve — scooping him off the sidewalk in front of a store in Manhattan where her owner’s left him tied.
Fortunately, a good-hearted one was out there, too.
Tina Cohen, a teacher, saw a man a couple of neighborhoods away trying to sell a dog on the street, circumstances that made her suspicious. She purchased the dog from him and, on Christmas day, returned the dog to the owners.
New York City police arrested the alleged thief, who they say took the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, named Marley, from outside a shop in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, all under the eye of a surveillance camera.
“Thank you, the people of Washington Heights … Those great Samaritans… And now we got him on Christmas Day,” Mia’s mother Angie Estrada told WABC-TV.
Cohen, a high school Spanish teacher came across a man on Monday in another section of Manhattan standing on a street corner and yelling that he had a dog for sale.
“I said that’s not right. I said I’d like to buy the dog. I only have $100,” Cohen said.
When the man demanded more cash, Cohen went to a nearby Staples, bought some merchandise with her credit card, then returned it for cash.
She paid $200 for Marley and took him straight to a veterinarian, where he was identified through his microchip.
On Tuesday Cohen watched Marley jump into Mia’s arms.
“You guys belong together,” she said. “I’m so happy you are together.”
No word on whether Cohen got her $200 back, but — in the event Santa is listening, and maybe is willing to make a return trip — we’d say she deserves that and much more.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: arrest, bought, child, christmas, christmas miracle, dog, king charles cavalier spaniel, manhattan, marley, mia bendray, miracle, paid, returned, reunion, reunited, selling, sidewalk, sold, stolen, street, surveillance, tied, tina cohen, video
Sergeant Rex, a bomb-sniffing dog who finally returned from duty in Iraq earlier this year and was reunited with his former handler, died Saturday at the age of 11.
Rex was assigned to Cpl. Megan Leavey in 2006 when, on a patrol in Iraq, the dog alerted his handler of a nearby bomb. Both tried to run away, but it detonated, injuring them both.
Leavey left the Marine Corps in Dec. 2007, but Sergeant Rex continued to serve. She tried to adopt the dog, but was unable to for years because he remained on duty after recovering from his injuries.
This year, when Rex was retired due to facial paralysis, Leavey renewed her efforts, receiving support form U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and an online petition that received more than 20,000 signatures. In March, Leavey received permission to adopt him. They were reunited in April.
Leavey, who lives in New York, announced Rex’s death last week on her Facebook page:
“Unfortunately today at 10:56 a.m. Rex passed away. I was faced with the decision that no pet owner wants to hear, but I know I made the right choice. This is all very sudden and thankfully he did not suffer for long, this all came about late last night.
“I am so grateful for the last eight months I got to spend with my partner and my best friend. Rex got to swim in a pool and play with my other dogs. He got to roam the yard and bark at deer, play with as many toys as he wanted all day everyday, sleep in a cozy bed next to me every night, chase and eventually make friends with my two cats, enjoy and play in his first snowfall … and so much other great stuff that he would have never had the chance to do if he was never retired.
“He knew I was with him the whole time and I laid next to him and held him and spoke to him and he was at peace in the end. He is now my guardian angel … even though he already was. So thank you to everyone who supported me and made it possible for me to spend those precious 8 months with my best friend.
“He was one hell of a dog, one tough ass Marine, and one very special soul. He will no doubt be greatly missed and never forgotten.”
A book about Rex came out this year, entitled “Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog.” It was written by Mike Dowling, another one of Sergeant Rex’s handlers.
Rex searched more than 6,220 vehicles while stationed in Iraq, the Marine Corps says.
The publishers of the new book noted his passing in a Facebook post this week:
“Rest in peace Rex and thank you for your service and sacrifice. Once a Marine, Always a Marine … Semper Fi,” they wrote.
(Photo of Rex and Leavey from tribute posted at Findagrave.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bomb, bombs, bond, book, death, died, dog, handler, handlers, ied, iraq, megan leavey, mike dowling, military, reunion, reunited, sergeant rex, sniffing, war
Ripped apart by Sandy, some New Yorkers and their pets have been lucky enough to reunite after the storm.
Here are photos of a few reunions, courtesy of PeoplePets.
Above is OTIS, a pit bull rescued by the Humane Society of the United States from a second floor apartment in Staten Island and reunited with his family at a local shelter.
PRECIOUS (above) and the three cats he lives with had to be left behind when LeeAnn Rivera and her seven children fled their Queens apartment. ASCPA responders rescued them from the completely flooded building and brought them to the Queens College evacuation shelter where the family is now living.
MAGGIE belongs to the Schramm family in Breezy Point, who lost everything in the storm — including her. The Finnish Spitz-shepherd mix was found wandering by photographer Ann Lewis, who took her in and created a Facebook page in an attempt to find her owners. It worked, and Maggie and family were reunited.
You can see more reunion photos at PeoplePets.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, ann lewis, aspca, cats, dogs, found, humane society of the united states, hurricane. storm, lost, maggie, new york, otis, pets, photographer, photographs, precious, reunions, reunited, sandy
A wandering veteran who lost his dog while living out of his camper in Utah has been reunited with him, thanks to a chance encounter, a blog entry, and a woman who had a feeling someone was missing the dog her father brought home.
Rusty Reed woke up on a summer morning earlier this year and tied his dog, Timber, to a 50-foot leash so he could get a little more sleep. When he awoke, Timber was gone, having pulled free of his collar.
Reed searched for three days, until, with wildfires approaching, he was forced to leave the area. He went back to Arizona, grieved, felt guilty and gave up on hopes for finding his dog. Two weeks later, he threw away Timber’s toys and dog food.
But the story – told, quite beautifully, in yesterday’s Arizona Republic, in an article by Scott Craven — has a happy ending.
Here’s the beginning: Reed came into possession of Timber three years ago. He was visiting Washington and ran into a friend who owed him money. The friend asked if he’d rather have cash or a dog.
“The dog,” Reed recalls having said. “A dog lasts longer than money.”
Calling Flagstaff, Arizona, home in the summer, and wintering in Lake Havasu City, Reed would walk Timber every day — either on a six-foot leash, which Reed called the “walkin’ leash,” or a 50 foot leash, which he called the “explorin’ leash.”
And when Reed hit the road in his camouflage-painted 1975 pick-up truck, which it sounds like he did often, Timber would come along.
Earlier this year, while camping, Reed met a woman named Sue Rogers, who was living the gypsy lifestyle as well in a camper with her two dogs, and blogging about her adventures at rvsueandcrew.com.
Four months after she posted about meeting him, Rogers heard from Reed again, who called to tell her about losing Timber.
“Rusty starts a tale I immediately sense is not going to have a happy ending,” she wrote on her blog after the talk.
Shortly after midnight on Aug. 26, Rogers posted a piece about Timber going missing, which led to numerous comments, and a few of her readers turning detective in hopes of helping locate the homeless veteran’s dog.
One of those posted a notice that, according to Fidofinder.com, a shepherd mix had been found July 10 near Loa, Utah. The listing included no photos, but Rogers contacted the poster and forwarded photos of Timber to her.
When Daisy Pettem, of Boulder, Colo., looked at the photos, she tried the name on the dog her family was calling Willy.
His ears went up.
Her father had found the dog as he camped outside Loa in early July and, unable to locate an owner, brought him home.
Pettem said that, given how sociable the dog was, she knew he belonged to someone, and that someone was likely missing him. It was she who posted the ”found dog” notice on Fidofinder.com.
Pettem communicated with Rogers, and then Reed, who, when he called her, asked her to put the phone to the dog’s ear.
“To to Timber, how are you boy? Daddy’s Number One Timber,” Reed said. Timber barked.
After some repairs to his pick-up, Reed headed to Longmont, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. He heard Timber barking when he stopped his truck.
Timber jumped out of an RV and dragged the holder of his leash over to Reed.
“Daddy’s here, boy, daddy’s back,” Reed said.
(Photo: Stephen Root / 12 News)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 10th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arizona, blog, bloggers, blogging, camper, daisy pettem, dog, dogs, fidofinders, found, homeless, pets, returned, reunion, reunited, road, rusty reed, rvsueandcrew, sue rogers, timber, traveling, utah, veteran
It was one of those heartwarming dog-reunited-with-family stories: Rogue, a missing Peruvian herding dog whose owner was killed in a car accident, had been found and was to be returned to the owner’s family.
As Sara Quinn — the girlfriend of the accident victim’s cousin — hugged the big black dog, news media recorded the event, having been invited by the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Quinn, 27, said the family had been searching for the dog, and that she planned to bring him back to their ranch in Friant.
But Rogue, the allegedly missing dog was a she, and the dog Quinn was hugging was a he — and he wasn’t the Erickson family’s dog at all.
In fact, the Erickson’s dog was never even missing.
After the Monday reunion, the story — told by the Fresno Bee and others — began unraveling.
Joe Erickson, 61 — father of Richard Erickson, who died after the car crash – saw news reports about the reunion on TV. He called The Bee to say his family’s dog, Rogue, was safe at home and she never had been missing.
He said he had no idea why Quinn manufactured the story.
Tuesday night, Quinn said she wasn’t trying to trick anyone, and that she thought she was doing a good deed by orchestrating a reunion of the dog with its owner’s family, the Bee reported.
The false Rogue, after Quinn adopted him from the shelter, was returned to the SPCA, where he awaits his rightful owner, or adoption.
CCSPCA spokeswoman Beth Caffrey said Tuesday, “we do the best we can to give animals the right opportunity. Unfortunately, we were all misled by this adoption” The CCSPCA is “grateful to have the dog back in our possession,” she said.
The CCSPCA had sent a news release out on Monday, recounting Quinn’s story of having found the family’s missing dog at the shelter. At Monday’s news conference, Caffrey said police had found the dog on the streets on Aug. 13. He was taken in by the shelter and put up for adoption on Aug. 21. Quinn called on Aug. 23 to claim him.
At the press conference, Quinn said she planned to surprise Richard Erickson’s mother by taking the dog to the ranch that evening. She wept and hugged the dog when he was brought out to her.
Tuesday night, Quinn admitted she had “created a big mess.”
(Photo: Fresno Bee)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, adoption, animals, central california spca, deception, dog, dogs, fake, family, fresno bee, heartwarming, news, news media, peruvian hunting dog, pets, reunion, reunited, richard erickson, rogue, sara quinn, shelters, spca, staged, victim
The reunion took place at Lackland Air Force base in Texas last week, and the eight-year-old dog is now home with Logan Black.
Black, 34, launched a campaign on Facebook to persuade the Air Force to retire Diego and let him adopt him, KCTV in Kansas City reports. The retired soldier says Diego saved his life, several times, in Iraq.
“This feels fantastic,” Black said. “I’ve been waiting for those for a really long time.”
Black trained Diego and they served on nearly 40 missions in Iraq in 2006, searching for hidden weapons and homemade bombs.
Five years after they sent separate ways, Black said he still missed the dog. He began a search for Diego and learned that he was working at Lackland AFB, helping train other bomb-sniffing dogs.
“No doubt Diego would have found a home somewhere, but a home with me is different than with a totally new stranger,” Black said.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, animals, bomb, bond, campaign, detecting, diego, dog, dogs, facebook, handler, home, humans, iraq, lackland, logan black, military, pets, reunion, reunited, search, sniffing, veteran
Former Marine Cpl. Megan Leavey and retired military service dog Rex were reunited Tuesday in New York, bringing a successful end to Leavey’s long campaign to adopt her former partner.
“I’m so happy,” Leavey, 28, told the Journal News from her Valley Cottage home Wednesday afternoon. “I was nervous at first that maybe he wouldn’t recognize me, but it was like no time has passed.”
Leavey and the German shepherd served two tours of duty together in Iraq. Both were injured when an explosive device was detonated near them outside of Ramadi, Iraq, in September 2006
Leavey was discharged from the Marines in December 2007, and she tried to adopt her former partner then. But military officials decided Rex could still make a valuable contribution and didn’t discharge him.
Earlier this year, however, Rex, then the oldest working dog at Camp Pendleton, was diagnosed with facial palsy, a nerve paralysis that left him unable to serve.
Leavey renewed her push to adopt the 10-year-old dog, and got help from Sen. Charles Schumer’s office.
Schumer wrote letters to military officials and more than 20,000 people signed a petition urging military officials to allow the adoption.
Officials with the Air Force signed off on the adoption last month.
Wednesday, Leavey and Rex were settling in after flying from California to JFK. By then, she’d introduced him to his new family — a 7-year-old shiba inu named Rocky and a 4-year-old chocolate Labrador named Patriot, and who Leavey handles for a private company.
“It’s like he knows he’s retired. He’s happy,” Leavey said. “We played in the yard the whole morning.”
Posted by jwoestendiek April 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: air force, charles schumer, dog, dogs, german shepherd, injured, iraq, K-9, k9, marines, megan leavey, military, military dogs, partners, petition, retired, reunion, reunited, rex, senator, sergeant rex, sgt. rex, united, video, war
Sgt. Rex will finally be reunited in retirement with his ex-Marine handler, Cpl. Megan Leavy, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said.
The Associated Press reports that the Air Force has agreed to release the German shepherd into the care of Leavey, who lives in Rockland County, north of New York City,
Leavey was injured with Rex in 2006 while trying to disarm an explosive in Iraq.
Leavey came home with a Purple Heart, but Sgt. Rex was evaluated and found to be capable of continuing his service.
Leavey had tried to adopt the dog then, but her request was rejected by the Air Force.
At age 10, Sgt. Rex started developing other problems and was allowed to retire. Leavey again tried to adopt him, but Schumer said bureaucracy still stood in the way.
“We salute the Air Force and the Marines for doing the right thing and allowing Rex to be with Corporal Leavey,” Schumer said Monday night. “One canine, one human, both heroes. They should be united shortly, and we’re glad it’s happening … It’s only appropriate and right that the two of them enjoy their retirement from the service together.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adopting, air force, animals, bureaucracy, charles schumer, dog, dogs, explosive, german shepherd, injured, iraq, K-9, k9, marine, marines, megan leavey, new york, pets, purple heart, reunion, reunited, reuniting, senator, sergeant rex, sgt. rex, war