A serviceman from Knoxville, Illinois has reunited with his K-9. The last time they saw each other was four years ago when they were both serving overseas.
Nine-year-old Rossi, a Czech Shepard, is enjoying his first day of retirement. Like any retiree you can expect a party. Police and fire fighters escorted Rossi down the streets of Galesburg to a dog park where they met a crowd of people.
A special ceremony was held Friday, September 5, 2015. A local VFW made Rossi a member. He also received a free spa day certificate.
This K-9 deserves it. He served as a bomb sniffing dog for the U.S Navy for the last eight years. Chris Spears was assigned as Rossi's first handler. Rossi was only 18 months old at the time.
"It was like two weeks, I`m totally attached. I love this dog," Spears said.
Their bond grew after one eventful night in Iraq.
"I was sleeping one night and Rossi came up and started kind of nudging me with his nose," said Spears.
Bombs came down on Spears' camping area. Rossi saved his life.
"If he wouldn't have woken me up, I would have slept right through it," said Spears.
Four years later Spears retired from the K-9 program, handing Rossi's leash over to another soldier. Spears requested to adopt Rossi once he retired.
"About four and a half months ago they contacted me and go, "Do you still want to adopt Rossi?" I'm like "Absolutely,"" said Spears.
Now he's able to spend his retirement with his former partner and can look forward to many lazy days ahead.
"He's going to be a couch dog. He's retired. You know the old saying 'retired going fishing', Rossi's just going to watch TV," said Spears.
In the Navy, a dog is allowed to retired if he develops health issues. The U.S War Dog Association will pay for Rossi's vet bills for the rest of his life.