The waiting area of an airport is full of emotions as people wave farewell to the ones they love or eagerly anticipate long-awaited greetings. Army Specialist Vance McFarland was a ball of nerves as he waited for a particularly special passenger to land at the Boise, Idaho airport.
McFarland paced back and forth, clutching a small dog toy in his hand. He was eagerly waiting to glimpse his old Army buddy: a furry, loyal Czech Shepard named Ikar.
“I hope he remembers me,” McFarland said. The two hadn’t seen each other in three years, since they served together in Afghanistan in 2012.
Ikar was trained as a Tactical Explosive Detection Dog (TEDD), and was always at McFarland’s side. The two spent their time locating dangerous roadside bombs in the Afghanistan wilderness.
“Some times were good, some times were stressful,” McFarland recalled. “Having Ikar definitely made it a lot better.”
McFarland found comfort in having a loyal companion by his side. “Having a dog with you on deployment is almost like having a little bit of home,” he explained.
When the pair returned from Afghanistan in 2012, they were separated. McFarland recalled that Ikar was going to be sent to another handler, to begin a new task.
But somehow, Ikar’s transition fell through the cracks. Sadly, he ended up in a kennel without work and without a family.
Thankfully, Mission K9 Rescue stepped in to help, wanting to give Ikar the life and family he deserved. They tracked down McFarland and asked if he wanted to adopt his old buddy.
Naturally, McFarland jumped at the chance. He found himself at the airport, hoping that his furry friend would recognize him.
The moment Ikar glimpsed his Army companion, he bolted down the hallway and into the Army veteran’s arms. Sheer joy and relief flooded the soldier’s face as the pair embraced.
“He is going to live the rest of his retired life spoiled,” McFarland grinned. “Really spoiled.”