Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach served as a dog handler in Afghanistan. He spent 24 hours a day with his partner, a a marine service dog named Casey. He told his companion that he would find her when he got home.
“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.
Ross made good on that promise, with the help of some kind-hearted people.
Gundlach left active duty to take classes in Wisconsin, but he never stopped seeking to adopt the 4-year-old yellow lab.
When Casey finished her military service, the specially trained dog was sent to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office. The dog was used to detect explosives.
Gundlach wrote a letter to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds. He explained the connection he felt with the dog. Ross even has a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo, sitting at the foot of a Marine.
“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures … it just tugged on your heart,” Reynolds said.
The Fire Marshal decided to surprise the veteran. They told Gundlach he needed to come to the state Capitol to plead his case in front of a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”
Reynolds told Gundlach and his parents that the meeting had been delayed and invited them to join an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda. There, hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were seated, keeping the secret — until they brought out Casey.
When Gundlach saw Casey, he put his head in his hands and cried. The dog licked his face, wagging her tail furiously.
“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 — she caught three before they could be detonated. 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.
Watch the touching video of their reunion and the moment that the two were ready to begin their civilian lives together.
Source: Fox News