Meet Stormy. This 4 year old black lab was a bomb dog with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines stationed in Afghanistan. Highly trained to sniff out improvised explosive devices, during one foot patrol in the mountains of Helmand Province, Stormy located five roadside bombs, saving both soldiers and civilians from injury and death.
Josh Miller, who served in Stormy’s unit, said this about Stormy: “He was a great dog, not only because he could find IEDs, but also because of his personality and his companionship. You’d go out on patrol and get shot at for three hours, then you’d come back to base pretty wired because you’d just been shot at, and he’d come up to you and want to cuddle up. It took your mind off what you’d just gone through.”
During his tour in Afghanistan, Josh got to know Stormy very well, and would even send pictures of Stormy back home to his family. One such picture prompted his sister, Jennifer, to send treats for the bomb dogs. Later, because both her brother and husband served in Afghanistan, Jennifer was inspired to put her name on a waiting list to adopt a retired military dog. Imagine her surprise when she got the call in November of 2013 that she had been matched with a retired bomb dog – a 4 year old black lab named…STORMY! Yes, it was the very same Stormy that her brother, Josh, had served with in Afghanistan!
Bomb dogs usually retire at 7-8 years old but Stormy had gotten heatstroke, which left him with difficulties regulating his body temperature, so it was no longer safe for him to serve in hot, arid climates. Today, he lives with Jennifer Hall and her husband in North Carolina, where he loves playing fetch and getting cuddles from his new family. He also enjoys occasional visits from his old Marine buddy, Josh.
“He recognized me. He knew me right away,” said Miller. “He loved being around the Marines, there were always 30 or 40 Marines around him and he was always playful and wanted to be petted. He’s a great dog.”
Hall jokes that she’s “chopped liver” whenever Stormy sees her brother.
Because he is so gentle and great with people, Jennifer is planning to get Stormy certified as a therapy dog. Josh has adopted his own retired bomb dog; a 6 year old Labrador named Bonnie.
“The main reason I wanted one was because they served their country the same way we did,” said Miller. “They were overseas with us through all of the heat and all of the times we got shot at, and they got hurt and sometimes killed. I thought the least I could do is give a good retirement home to a dog.”
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