We were honored to be a part of a very special ceremony recently in Des Moines, Iowa at the Iowa State Capitol Building. Sgt. Ross Gundlach, a Marine who served 150 missions in Afghanistan with a yellow lab named Casey, were reunited after a year apart. During their time in combat Gundlach promised he would find her when their service was finished. Casey went on to work in explosive detection for law enforcement in Iowa. After discovering her location Gundlach began petitioning the state. Sgt. Gundlach thought he was showing up that morning to plead his case to adopt Casey. When in fact, with the help of the Elks club raising $8,500 for a replacement dog and the State of Iowa making it possible, Casey was retired with honors and they are now going home together. It was a surprise ceremony hosted by the governor and orchestrated by the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
In doing research for the event Iowa DPS discovered that Casey and Gundlach had kept their group safe by discovering explosives throughout their deployment. USMC Sgt. Williamson, who presented Casey to Gundlach, served together with the two and said, “they’re the real deal. It takes a lot of courage to lead the group into the unknown looking for IEDs.”
Mike Ritland spoke at the ceremony and provided a context on the bond that is created between a dog and their handler in a combat environment. Mike was born and raised in Iowa, and he was pleased to be a part of such an incredible event!
After the ceremony the Iowa State Troopers took the Trikos crew on a behind the scenes tour of the Iowa State Capitol building. We literally went from the bowels of the basement to the rafters of the cupola. It was an amazing look at the historic landmark.
Click on the photo below for video footage and the full story on Sgt. Ross Gundlach and Casey!