Logan Black owes his life to a special four-legged companion.
And now he wants to make his furry friend's golden years extra special. He is seeking to adopt Diego, a yellow lab trained to sniff out any type of explosive.
Black spent all of 2006 deployed in Iraq. As a specialized search-dog handler, most of his tour was spent with Diego.
"They're absolutely the best thing out there we have to find these types of devices," Black said. "They're faster than humans, they can find things buried too deep for metal detectors, they can't really be fooled. If it's out there, and there's any odor, that dog is going to find it."
Black said Diego saved his life several times during that deployment. He vividly remembers one time in particular.
"He comes over to me and starts sniffing at my feet. Starts showing changes in behavior that say, 'Hey dad, I've got something here.' Then goes into full indication that says, 'There's something here, dad.' And I was standing right on top of it," Black said.
He was standing on top of two 105 mm artillery rounds. Luckily there wasn't anyone near the detonator for the explosive device.
"He could have clicked a button and that would have been it for Diego and I," Black said.
After the deployment, he retired from the Army.
"I had to go through the process of training a new handler on how Diego worked and what he needed to do to keep Diego safe, then I had to say goodbye," he said.
Earlier this year, after missing Diego for five years, Black set out to find his old partner. He set up a Facebook page to bring Diego home. Click here to go to the page.
"I figured it took one person to see this and everything would fall into place," Black said.
In June it did. He got a call from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
Diego now trains new handlers. He's still valuable to the military, but Black is lobbying hard for Diego's retirement.
"They could call next week and say Diego's ready for retirement, they could call in two years. Of course I want him now, if they called today I'd be on a plane to San Antonio to pick him up," Logan said.
Once the U.S. Army retires Diego, Black said there's a chance he could be transferred to law enforcement or the Transportation Security Administration, but Black is the first civilian in line to adopt Diego. He said not knowing when he'll be reunited with Diego is the hardest part. But it will be well worth it when Diego comes home.
"He's my best friend, he's a life saver," Black said.
Logan suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time overseas. He hopes to have Diego certified as a therapy dog to help him and other veterans.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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