VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk-based sailor reunited with his former four-legged partner Sunday in Virginia Beach after more than one year a part.
The American Humane Association coordinated the reunion after Chad, a sailor and former handler, contacted the organization when the U.S. Navy retired his former military dog.
Chad and Freddy, a 10-year-old German Shepard, worked side-by-side for nearly two years in Italy. Chad says they were separated when then Navy reassigned him to Norfolk.
“I just look at him truly as a best friend,” said Chad. “That dog works for you, and you work for that dog … You have each other’s back and it’s pretty amazing. It’s pretty cool.”
Chad is a man of few words and says he’s happy Freddy, who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, will get to live out the rest of his life with him.
“He’s pretty much just going to sit on the couch,” said Chad. “I bought a bunch of toys for him. Now, he gets to take a pick of whatever one he wants.”
The American Humane Association says this is the 32nd dog and handler reunion.
Jason Haag, a combat veteran who now serves as the organization’s military affairs director, helped to bring Freddy back from Italy.
“They are their best friends. They are their lifelines,” said Haag. “They’re just like a brother-in-arms … These military working dogs are heroes in their own right, so it means so much to us to bring them home.”
Haag says The American Humane Association will cover lifetime medical bills for Freddy.
They say the reunion was made possible because of donations from the community. Anyone who wishes to donate can visit their website.