U.S. Army Specialist Vance McFarland spent his time in Afghanistan detecting explosive devices with the help of a Czech shepherd named Ikar.
The four-legged soldier was trained as a tactical explosive detection dog and even Army Specialist McFarland admitted that having a dog with him on deployment was “almost like having a little bit of home.”
But when their deployment ended, Army Specialist McFarland and Ikar joyfully got off the plane at Ft. Bragg, had their photo taken, then Ikar was whisked away to be assimilated back into the training program. But poor Ikar was subjected to a much different fate.
There wasn’t an immediate need for Ikar’s services once he reached Afghanistan, so he was supposed to be kenneled for a few weeks. Instead, the poor dog was sheltered for 17 long, miserable months. When Mission K9 Rescue learned of Ikar’s saga, they intervened. Kristen Maurer, president of the organization, worked hard to free Ikar and a few other dogs that had been set aside. These dogs sacrificed their lives and were considered heroes, but weren’t being treated as such.
While fighting to bring Ikar and the other dogs home, Kristen worked hard to find the dogs’ original handlers. Army Specialist McFarland woke up one morning to discover a plethora of Facebook messages from people wanting to know if he and Ikar had worked together. He was crushed to learn what had happened to his buddy, his lifesaver, his best friend. Finally, Mission K9 Rescue came through and was able to ship Ikar and others home. Army Specialist McFarland fretted that Ikar wouldn’t remember him, but as soon as the pair laid eyes on each other in the airport, his fears washed away. Watch this incredible reunion in the video below and learn what the future holds for the stoic Ikar.