September 24, 2015
It was a long-awaited reunion for one Army soldier and his canine combat companion. WOIO reports that on September 22, in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Hopkins Aiport, an Army explosives expert was reunited with his K9 partner, through the efforts of two groups, Mission K9 Rescue and Mt. Hope Kennel K9 Warrior Rescue, based in Church Road, Virginia. This reunion was the 11th of 12 planned for these canine heros who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. These retired war dogs were rescued by Greg Meredith, of Mt. Hope, and on Tuesday, Army Specialist John Nyerghes was reunited with his K9 partner Ranger, a beautiful German Shepherd.
The two had been deployed as a team in Afghanistan during 2011, sniffing out IEDs, surviving firefights, keeping the other soldiers alive. As is the case with most K9-human combat teams, they developed a close bond. Nyerghes came home in 2012, when his deployment was over. In the meantime, Ranger had been wounded in battle. He developed a serious infection from shrapnel embedded in his tail, and was very emaciated.
Ranger was one of 12 dogs delivered by military contractors to the Mt. Hope facility, some 17 months ago. Meredith expected that the canines would only be at his facility for six-to-eight weeks, for some well-deserved R&R, till they were redeployed. Meredith himself cared for the injured Ranger, taking the dog into his own house after his tail was amputated, nursing him back to health.
The government contractors delayed paying the bill for the care of these canine soldiers. In 2014, Meredith was told he could not rehome the dogs as they were government property and would face federal prosecution if he tried. Then in 2015, the contractors decided the dogs were too old, and they were going to get law enforcement K9’s to fulfill their contract. At that time, Meredith was told to dispose of the dogs as he saw fit. Out of funds, he reached out to Mission K9 Rescue, in Texas, to help get Ranger back to his buddy, Nyerghers. On September 21, Mission K9 gave fans anadvance notice of the upcoming reunion on their webpage.
It was a tearfilled scene, when the two were reunited at the aiport. Ranger jumped right into his arms as if he was finally home again. “Come here buddy!”, exclaimed John, as he called out to his companion. Ranger almost sat in John’s lap, as the two of them sat together on the floor. Said John, “He was a teammate. He saved a lot of guys. I’m going to take him home and give him the home he deserves.” As they were leaving, Ranger jumped up to give Greg a sloppy kiss. Said Meredith, “I’ll miss him, he was a good friend of mine.” Six-year-old Ranger and John, his beloved 24-year-old human, will now live together in Cleveland.
Meredith and Mt. Hope have still has not received reimbursement from the contractors, so they have set up thisGofundme page to help defray the costs. They would like to stay in business and continue to be a rescue resource for reuniting soldiers with their war dogs. They receive multiple pleas from soldiers looking to be reunited with their K9 partners, such as this one from Chris,
Please, I was a handler during my last deployment, did you have a K9 named Kim … any information would be so much help!
Many of the retired K9’s suffer from PTSD, from their military service, and are not suitable for adoption into families. These are highly trained working dogs who need to be with those they know or put back to work. You can check out Mt. Hope’s Facebook page for pictures of all their K9 warriors. Mission K9 rescues working dogs from all walks of life. Based in Houston, they have offices in San Antonio and Los Angeles. If you would like to help them, or read more about their worldwide mission, you can find out more here.