Now here's an incredible story of two brothers in arms who found their way back to each other after spending several years apart. In 2010, Marine Brad O'Keefe was serving in Afghanistan when he suffered grave injuries from an IED explosion. Had it not been for a warning from his partner, a bomb-sniffing dog named Earl, O'Keefe and 13 of his fellow troops may have lost their lives.
|Brad and Earl|
Brad was sent home to Rochester, N.Y., due to his injuries and Earl was reassigned, but the soldier never forgot the dog who served with him and saved his life. "I tried to move on because I didn't know what was going to happen. But there was always a place in my heart for him." Brad and his family continued to search for Earl over the years. His sister, Rachel Lawson, set up a Facebook page called 'Bring MWD Earl Home' in the hope of finding the dog. Earlier this year, they traced him to Rhode Island, where he was working with state police.
The pair was reunited at the State Police headquarters in Scituate, R.I. and the family has since received even more good news. “They're letting us adopt Earl. No strings attached, no extra expenses.”
After the lengthy separation, O'Keefe is determined to make the most of his time with Earl. "He slept in the bed with me last night. We are going to spend as much time together as we can." Now the family is on a mission to reunite other military handlers and their canine partners. The website has since been re-branded and the page that helped find Earl as is know known as 'Boots And Collars'. the site has already begun helping other soldiers reconnect with their four-legged brothers. "He's just one dog. I love all of them and I want to do this for other people, we just want to pay it forward."
View photos of O'Keefe and Earl's emotional reunion at the Boots And Collars Facebook page.