Kansas City, MO (KCTV) — The Facebook campaign was successful, and a retired hound is now enjoying a new home with an old friend.
Logan Black, 34, has been waiting for this week for a long time. The retired soldier wanted to reunite with Diego, a bomb-sniffing dog that saved his life in Iraq.
But Diego was still serving in the military, and even after retiring from the military, he could have been transferred to another federal or law enforcement agency.
Black began a campaign on Facebook to be allowed to adopt Diego immediately. More than 6,000 people, including a number of KCTV5 viewers, signed on to help convince the Air Force to retire Diego and let Black adopt him.
That reunion occurred Tuesday. Black is back home with 8-year-old Diego, a yellow Labrador retriever, after traveling to Texas where Diego was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base. Diego was used to train other bomb-sniffing dogs.
"This feels fantastic," Black said. "I've been waiting for those for a really long time."
Black trained Diego and they served on nearly 40 missions in Iraq, searching for hidden weapons and large homemade bombs.
Black spent all of 2006 deployed in Iraq. As a specialized search dog handler, most of his tour was spent with Diego.
"They're absolutely the best thing out there we have to find these types of devices," Black said. "They're faster than humans, they can find things buried too deep for metal detectors, they can't really be fooled. If it's out there, and there's any odor, that dog is going to find it."
Black says Diego saved his life more than once during their deployment together.
After missing his faithful companion for five years, Black began to search for Diego, learning that he was working at Lackland AFB. He made it his mission to find him and be reunited with him.
"No doubt Diego would have found a home somewhere, but a home with me is different than with a totally new stranger," he said.
The Air Force officially retired Diego on Tuesday, and Black is now lavishing love and attention on the quiet dog.
"He was my best friend and my partner in Iraq," he said. "No matter how bad things go in Iraq, I had something that loved me unconditionally."