Kansas (CNN)–After nearly five years of searching, two Iraqi war veterans are now reunited. But it’s not the type of reunion you might expect.
Eight-year-old Diego doesn’t say much. In fact, he never barks.
This yellow lab spent the better part of his life talking with his nose– and helping his country in the process. Now retired, this former military bomb-sniffing dog has a new home, but it’s with an old friend.
“Oh it feels fantastic. You know, I’ve been waiting for this for a really long time,” Logan Black, an Iraq War vet, said.
Black, 34, worked as a bomb specialist and trained Diego. The two served together on more than 40 missions in Iraq, sniffing out everything from hidden weapons to large homemade bombs. Logan said Diego saved his life and many others more times than he can count:
“He comes up and starts sniffing a lot right next to where I’m standing and then gives me a full indication that ‘Hey dad, something’s here!’ And it turned out that there were 2 roadside bombs that had been buried too deep for metal detectors to find.”
Black wanted to return the favor. For years, he had been searching for his old partner even on Facebook, wanting to adopt him after his service was over.
“No doubt Diego would have found a home somewhere, but a home with me is totally different than with a new stranger,” said Black.
Last Tuesday the Air Force officially retired the dog, and allowed Black to adopt him.
“He was my best friend and my partner in Iraq,” said Black. No matter how bad things got in Iraq, I always had something that loved me unconditionally.”
The rest of Diego’s life, Black will be returning that love. Black collected more than 6,000 signatures to help convince the Air Force to retire the dog and let him adopt it.