Soldier Who Searched For Former Canine Partner For Years Finally Tracks Him Down And Adopts Him

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

Soldiers that fight for our country are absolute heroes.

When they return home from serving abroad, it is very important that these brave men and women are taken care of and treated with the utmost respect.

Anything we can do to help them to re-adjust to life as a civilian is vital. Sometimes that re-adjusting involves tracking down the friends they made while they were away. So when I saw this post from August of 2015, I knew that sharing this story was extremely important.

This brave soldier was partnered with a bomb-sniffing dog to aid him in his job of finding IEDs (improvised explosive devices). The two became great friends and formed a deep and lasting bond.

However, when his military tour ended, this soldier was sent home, having to leave his best friend and partner behind.

Now this soldier is trying to find his dog and bring him home. He writes of their amazing bond and shares beautiful photos of them together in this entry that he posted on Imgur under the name SweepHisLegsJohnny.

Scroll through below to hear this soldier’s story in his own words.

soldier and austin the dog

He posted on Imgur:

“I was deployed during my third tour with Austin, a Labrador retriever who smells explosives.”

soldier and austin the dog

“We were tasked with leading patrols with the purpose of finding IEDs (improvised explosive devices), or realistically anything that goes boom.”

soldier and austin the dog

“With most Marines, it was a tough sell. It requires trust. We were operating in the opium capital of the world.”

soldier and austin the dog

“For the duration of the deployment, much of our mission was with the intent of bettering the lives of those most disadvantaged — namely women and children. This was an uphill battle.”

soldier and austin the dog

“Sometimes, it was as simple as providing security for schools and villages. Others, it was more troubling.”

soldier and austin the dog

“We did our best and made the most out of the situation, success and failure alike. Austin told me that I should really try to quit smoking.”

soldier and austin the dog

“Even with the worst of days, he was always happy to see me and come [home].”

soldier and austin the dog

“Days became weeks, crazy days became routine. It all becomes a blur after a while.”

soldier and austin the dog

“Before I knew it, it was all over. I had to relieve my dog to the proper authorities.”

soldier and austin the dog

“That meant I had to give him back. Forever?”

soldier and austin the dog

“It has been several years. I have a general idea of his location, however within the military it is not much guarantee. Sh*t happens. This post was inspired by a fellow handler searching for his IDD.”

soldier and austin the dog

“I know he’s out there somewhere. I know many other handlers are looking for their battle buddies as well.”

soldier and austin the dog

“In this life or the next, warrior.”

After an enormous outpouring of support, this brave soldier added this update:

“Edit: Wow, I’m blown away by all the support. Thank you all. I posted this last night when I was drinking and feeling a little nostalgic, thinking little would come of it. Late last year I finally tracked him down and found he was still in the service. I put in the adoption paperwork and have attempted to contact them again to see how Austin’s doing, this time without success. Soon.”

And wouldn’t you know it, this soldier posted on Imgur just a few months later in November of 2015 with some very good news:

“Update: Austin’s home!

“After a bit of legwork and help from a few organizations, I was able to finally pick him up. He got his own seat to fly back home with me.”

“Alls well that ends well. He’s happy to be home, and I’m happy to finally have him.”

Please SHARE to help spread this hero’s story about his search for his best friend.