When Marine Sergeant Ross Gundlach and his K9 partner, Casey, served in Afghanistan, Ross made a promise to the dog that he would do whatever it took to find her when he returned home.
Ross worked with Casey sweeping roads for explosives in Helmand Province and the pair bonded while overseas. They successfully completed 150 combat missions together, and Ross credits Casey for saving his life and several in his unit.
“About midway through, I told her if we made it out alive I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Ross said. “I owe her. I want to take care of her…I’ll just try to give her the best life she can have from here on out.”
Ross returned home and Casey was adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s Office to serve as an explosive detection canine for the State of Iowa.
Ross did not give up with wanting to reunite with his war buddy and with some very special help from friends and the Iowa Elks Association, Ross was surprised by Casey at an Iowa Statehouse rotunda ceremony. During the surprise reunion, the Office of the State Fire Marshal told a shocked Ross that Casey was officially his to take home.
The Marine Sergeant was visibly moved. He had traveled there believing he would need to make a plea before a state board in order to adopt the 4-year-old Labrador Retriever. Instead, he discovered the Iowa Elks Association had raised $8500 to replace Casey with another working dog and that his adoption had already been approved.
When the two met again at the ceremony, onlookers couldn’t help but feel the emotion. As soon as Casey saw Ross, her tail didn’t stop wagging.
What a wonderful happy ending for the two friends! Please share it with your animal-loving friends!