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American Humane Reunites Idaho Service Member with his Military Working Dog

BOISE, IDAHO, December 5, 2018 — Military working dog (MWD) Bakk, who bravely served for seven years as a patrol dog protecting our troops in South Korea and is retiring from service, was reunited yesterday in downtown Boise with his former handler, TSgt Dustin Cain. Bakk, a 9-year-old German Shepherd, is now with his forever family at their house located on the Mountain Home Air Force Base.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better partner on those cold and rainy nights. He was always watching and listening ready to alert on any abnormality,” said TSgt Cain. “He was my protector and greatest friend while I was away from my family.” TSgt Cain last saw Bakk in January.

American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, has been working to support the U.S. military, veterans, and military animals for more than 100 years. One of its many efforts is working to bring retired military dogs back to the United States and reconnect them with the people who care most about them – their former handlers. 

American Humane sent one of its top veterinarians to pick up and escort MWD Bakk to Boise. Support was provided by American Humane’s Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs, along with Hallmark Channel and MerriView Hill – Call to Duty.  It was an emotional and long-hoped-for reunion. 

“For those veterans who served with a military working dog, pairing them back together has helped them heal,” said American Humane Veterinarian Dr. Lesa Staubus. “Being a veterinarian, I’ve done various things, but being this dog’s escort was one of the most special things.”

Bakk had nine different handlers during his service and is now retiring due to health issues, primarily injuries to his hind legs. Retired MWDs often have lots of medical issues stemming from their physical jobs. American Humane works on reunifications and, along with Compassion-First Pet Hospitals, a family of specialty and emergency veterinary hospitals across the U.S., provides free specialty and preventative medical care to make retired MWDs as healthy and comfortable as possible during retirement. Many dogs also suffer from posttraumatic stress.

About American Humane
Founded in 1877, American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. For more information about American Humane, please visit

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