When Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach served as a dog handler in Afghanistan, he told the yellow lab who was his constant companion that he’d look her up when he returned home.
“I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.
On Friday, he made good on that vow with help from some sentimental state officials in Iowa who know how to pull off a surprise.
Since leaving active duty to take classes at the University of Wisconsin this summer, Gundlach, of Madison, Wis., had been seeking to adopt 4-year-old Casey.
The 25-year-old learned Casey had finished her military service and had been sent to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office, where she was used to detect explosives.
Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, explaining the connection he felt with the dog. He even has a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo, sitting at the foot of a Marine.
“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures … it just tugged on your heart,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds decided to arrange a surprise. First, he got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, which agreed to…