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U.S. Army Specialist Vance McFarland waited nervously for a much anticipated flight to land at the Boise airport. On board was some extra special cargo, a 5-year old Czech Shephard named Ikar with whom he’d served in Afghanistan.
Ikar is a Tactical Explosive Detection Dog (TEDD) who served alongside McFarland in 2012.
“Some times were good, some times were stressful. Having Ikar definitely made it a lot better. Having a dog with you on deployment is almost like having a little bit of home. Other soldiers were jealous, they always wanted to come up and pet Ikar. We made the best of it,” McFarland explained to USA Today.
But, when McFarland and Ikar returned stateside, Ikar was immediately whisked away from the soldier. McFarland was told Ikar was being returned to Afghanistan to work with another handler.
But, that wasn’t the case. In fact, Ikar was instead put in what was supposed to be a temporary kennel where he’d stay for 4 or 5 weeks. The independent contractor in charge of Ikar essentially abandoned the bomb-detecting dog, neglecting to pay the kennel where he was boarded for 17 months. Thankfully, the kennel owner continued providing excellent care for Ikar until Mission K9 Rescue and the US War Dogs Association stepped in to reunite him with his former handler.
Now, 3 years later, the pair are finally being permanently reunited, thanks to the incredible work of Mission K9 Rescue. McFarland says Ikar will live the rest of his life being really spoiled.
McFarland was worried that Ikar, his battle buddy, wouldn’t recognize him after so many years apart… watch the incredible reunion here: