After serving in Afganistan together in 2012, U.S. Army Specialist Vance McFarland was reunited with 5-year old Czech Shepard, Ikar at the Boise Airport.
Afraid he wasn't going to remember him, McFarland held a dog toy and waited for his canine friend to land.
"Sometimes were good, sometimes were stressful. Having Ikar definitely made it a lot better. Having a dog with you on deployment is almost like having a little bit of home. Other soldiers were jealous, they always wanted to come up and pet Ikar. We made the best of it," said McFarland.
Ikar is a Tactical Explosive Dectection Dog (TEDD). The two looked for roadside bombs and IEDs together in Afghanistan. The pair arrived home in September 2012 but were separated when Ikar was sent to another handler for a second tour in Afghanistan.
"When we walked off the plane at Fort Bragg, I had Ikar for long enough for them to take a picture before they took him away from me and sent him back to go back through the TEDD program and back to Afghanistan," McFarland said. "It sucked. I mean we worked together for a long time. We were really close, then it was just like that, they took him away."
After his second tour Ikar and ten other TEDD dogs were adopted by a private contract company. They were taken to Mt. Hope Kennels in Richmond, Va, where they were later abandoned.
Mission K9 Rescue and U.S. War Dogs Association workers took to social media where they connected with McFarland.
McFarland, now a full-time student studying biology and natural resources living in Boise with his wife and 2 other dogs didn't question the decision to take Ikar home.
There's no question that these two really missed each other.
"He is going to live the rest of his retired life spoiled. Really spoiled," said McFarland.
We are so glad that Ikar has found his forever home with someone who loves him and really has a connection with.