Army Specialist Vance McFarland had no idea what happened to the bomb-sniffing dog who served by his side. He spent years wondering where the pooch had ended up, until one day he got a surprise Facebook message that would bring them back together.
Ikar is a Czech Shepherd who was a Tactical Explosive Detection Dog, with Army Specialist Vance McFarland as his handler
Militaries all around the world use Czech Shepherds for their strong sense of smell, work ethic, and fierce loyalty. Ikar was a bomb-detecting hero who served in Afghanistan, his first tour was with McFarland who grew very close with the pooch.
After McFarland finished his tour, the two were brought back to Fort Bragg where Ikar was quickly taken away to begin training to go back to Afghanistan.
“When we walked off the plane at Fort Brag, I had Ikar for long enough for them to take a picture before they took him away from me and sent him back to go back through the TEDD program and back to Afghanistan,” said McFarland.
After Ikar’s second tour, he and ten other TEDD dogs were adopted by a private company and sent to Mt. Hope Kennels in Richmond, Virginia
Mt. Hope Kennels only expected to house the dogs for 5 weeks, but 7 months later they were still there. The owner of Mt. Hope Kennels, Greg Meredith, who had spent $150,000 housing the dogs, was out of money and in need of help.
That’s when the abandoned dogs were turned over to Mission K9 Rescue in Houston, Texas. Mission K9 Rescue and U.S. War Dogs Association, started looking for previous handlers who were willing to adopt their old partners.’
McFarland still wondered what happened to his old bomb-sniffing friend, until one day fate intervened
When the Army veteran woke up to a flurry of Facebook messages from Mission K9 Rescue, he couldn’t believe what they were asking. Was he really getting the chance to adopt Ikar? Indeed he was, and for McFarland, it was an easy choice.
He immediately said yes, and just like that, he was waiting for Ikar at the airport in Boise, Idaho. McFarland shuffled back and forth, anxiously waiting for Ikar’s arrival.
“I hope he remembers me,” said McFarland.
Not only did Ikar remember him, but their bond was still obvious as the dog sprinted into McFarland’s arms
The reunion was all caught on camera, and excited Ikar immediately recognized his old friend and ran into his arms to give him some love. McFarland was overjoyed, tears welled up in his eyes as he gave Ikar the toy he had brought him and got ready to take him home to his new forever home.
People all over were touched by the emotional reunion, millions of viewers watched them as they were brought back together again.
The video of Ikar’s homecoming has been viewed over 10.2 million times on YouTube, with 59k liking it
Thousands of people also left inspiring and heartfelt comments for the two long-lost friends.
Stories like this bring tears to your eyes, the love they share for each other never lessened, even with years of separation. Thankfully, Mission K9 Rescue made this dream of McFarland’s come true and now they can live happily ever after. To see the heart-melting reunion, watch the video below!
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