Dogs are just the best, right? Sure, sometimes they can get a little annoying when they bark too much or incessantly scratch themselves, shaking the bed like there is an earthquake. All of that trouble is worth it though when you consider how much love they bring to our lives.
We forge strong bonds with our furry friends. Some would even say these bonds are unbreakable. Another strong bond that is nearly unbreakable is the one between soldiers. When you’ve fought alongside someone, there isn’t much that can take that away. You will forever be brothers and/or sisters.
Now imagine the partnership between soldier humans and soldier dogs. Dogs are routinely used in the armed services both at home and abroad. This story is about a soldier who made a promise to his partner-dog that he ended up keeping: to adopt him after the war.
Blue is a black labrador retriever who is also part of the armed forces. Blue worked alongside marine Byung “BK” Kang and has reportedly saved his life so many times that it isn’t even worth counting anymore. The two of them served together in the United States Marine Core in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012. In that time they completed 300 combat missions where Blue was in charge of sniffing out improvised explosive devices. Blue wasn’t just good at it, she was spectacular. She even found a bomb on her very first mission.
According to the 31 year old Kang, “That IED could have taken a couple of our guys out. So from there, Blue started getting trust and the respect of my platoon.” This was all after Byung Kang’s first deployment in which they faced many explosive attacks.
After his first tour, Kang decided to be the partner, or handler, for an IED detection dog. That’s when he partnered with Blue. Kang started to learn Blue’s body language to know when she might be sensing a bomb. That’s when she would jump into action, running ahead of the team and laying down in front of the bomb to indicate its position. This would give her the prize of playing with a toy.
“Since we knew Blue is effective, it was almost impossible for a squad or a platoon to go out without Blue. Sometimes we went on three patrols per day and by the time we’d get back we’re all exhausted because we’ve been walking miles and miles in over a hundred degrees of heat in Afghanistan. So we did our best. Every chance, we tried to go out to possibly save the Marines and sailors.”
Kang recognized just how important Blue had been to him and the soldiers in the marines, so he made a promise. “I told her, ‘What you’ve done for me and my guys over here in Afghanistan, we cannot pay back. So I’m going to give you a good home where you can cuddle all day, not worrying about going to war and finding bombs.’”
After Kang’s tour ended, the two of them lost touch as Blue was reassigned, but Kang remembered his promise. Seven years later, blue retired and Kang kept his promise. Now they live happily ever after with Kang’s wife, Wendy. “These working dogs, they will give up their life for us. So we should be thankful to them and respect them and above all, trust the dog because dogs will not lie.”