Wisconsin Marine gets surprise reunion with old friend in Iowa

Published On: May 20 2013 07:40:43 AM HST

A Wisconsin Marine and his K-9 partner from Afghanistan had a surprise reunion Friday in Iowa.

Sgt. Ross Gundlach, of Madison, Wis., found himself face-to-face under the Iowa State Capitol dome Friday morning with the dog that he worked with in Afghanistan in 2011-2012.

The 4-year-old yellow Labrador named Casey was adopted by the Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office for $5 in November through a Defense Department program after she finished her tour in Afghanistan.

Casey is a trained explosives detection dog.  She saved lives by helping detect improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

Friday, Gundlach believed he was coming to Iowa to request before a state committee his intent to adopt the dog.  But he didn't know plans were already underway to return Casey to him.

"Ross is such a good guy. It was hard to keep a secret fom him, knowing we already decided to get the pair back together," said State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds in a news release issued Friday. "It took time to get everything in order, but the decision was easy. Getting Casey and Ross back together was just the right thing to do."

A $8,500 donation from the Iowa Elks Association helped purchase a replacement K-9 so that Casey could go home with Gundlach.

Authorities said Casey's replacement, Vega, is already hard at work in Iowa.


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