Local Family, Army Sergeant And Working Dog Reunited
November 4, 2012
There was a special reunion Saturday at the Pensacola airport between a local family, an Army sergeant father, and a former Army service dog from half a world away.
Vazul is a six-year old German Shepherd who has served his life in the U.S. Army. He has served his country well, serving in Iraq at least twice and earning several honors as an explosives detection dog.
In 2008, Vazul was introduced to Sgt. Robert Neese of Cantonment at the Fort Polk Military Working Dog Section. Sgt. Neese and Vazul served a one year deployment together as a military working dog team in Iraq in 2009. In 2011, Sgt. Neese received a permanent change of duty station to Vicenza, Italy. He had to say goodbye to Vazul…..at least for the time being. The Neese family made it known that Vazul would have a home with them if he never needed one.
Vazul took a turn for the worse in June of 2012. He was diagnosed with degenerative lumbosacral stenosis and was given a life span of about three more years. His military working dog career was over, and he was placed for adoption.
Dr. Michael D. Ratcliff of the Fort Polk Veterinary clinic remembered the bond that Vazul shared with the Neese family and informed Sgt. Neese’s wife Leighann of Vazul’s situation.
“He is so special to us, and is a part of our family,” Leighann Neese said.
Saturday morning, Sgt. Neese arrived home for leave from Italy and was reunited with his former partner at the Pensacola International Airport.
Sgt. Neese and his family have selected an experienced military working dog surgeon in Italy, and they are raising funds to get Vazul the spinal surgery he needs to prolong his life and greatly improve his quality of health and living.
Donations can be made to the Paypal account firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks can be mailed to: Attention: Leighann Neese,For Vazul, P.O. Box 31, Cantonment, FL 32533.
Submitted and NorthEscambia.com photos by Kristi Smith, click to enlarge.