Retired military K-9 reunites with soldier after tour in Afghanistan

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After being abandoned for more than a year, a retired bomb-sniffing dog is finally being reunited with the soldier she served beside in Afghanistan.

Two veterans were reunited Monday at Hobby Airport after two years apart. One, an Army sergeant, the other a golden retriever who saved a lot of lives in Afghanistan by detecting explosives.

Giluk the golden had faced an uncertain future after the government contractor that trained her for military duty said she was no longer needed. She spent more than a year in a Virginia kennel with a dozen other war dogs sent back from the war zone.

Greg Meredith, owner of the Mt. Hope Kennels, said the contractor essentially abandoned them at his kennel, without paying for boarding and retraining the dogs that had done their duty, but got nothing in return.

"Eventually I was told I could dispose of them however I wanted. Disposal was no an option. These are veterans that have served their country," Meredith said.

Enter Mission K9 Rescue, a Houston-based non-profit that reunites war dogs with their handlers, who have searched for them, but often without success.

On Tuesday the group is travelling to Nashville, where a yellow lab named "Abby," will be turned over to the family of her handler, Army SPC Jake Carlberg. The reunion will be bittersweet.

Carlberg was killed in a car accident earlier this year. Since he left Afghanistan, he had been trying to find Abby.

"We found his wife," said Kristen Maurer of Mission K9 Rescue. "She felt Abby was a link to her husband, especially for her children. Bringing her home will give them a kind of closure."

Abby deserves a special home. She prevented 8 IED attacks, saving at least 80 lives, and she was so effective in finding explosives, there was a $20,000 bounty on her in Afghanistan.

Fact is, says Mauer, there are a lot of "Abbys" out there, but no one knows how many. Hundreds of dogs used by contractors and the military, whose service has ended, are believed to be out there. K9 Rescue's mission is to reunite them with their handlers, if possible, and find loving homes for them, if not.

"Some of the war dogs come back with PTSD, just like vets. That's where the therapy and retraining comes in," Mauer said.

The dozen dogs transferred from the Mt. Hope Kennel are now guests at a kennel in Fort Bend County, with large kennel runs and a big yard in which to search and fetch. Their time there will depend on how quickly their former partners can be found.

For more information on the non-profit, visit Missionk9rescue.org.
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