British soldier Liam Tasker served in Afghanistan with a Springer Spaniel named Theo. They worked together to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other hidden weapons. The soldier's colleagues said they were a match made in heaven. Shortly after Lance Corporal Tasker was killed by enemy fire in 2011, Theo also died. Tasker's family believes he died from a broken heart. That's just one example of the bond that grows between a soldier and his dog.
Another will play out today when Nate Korpusik is reunited with Zino, a 4-year-old German Shepherd he served with in Afghanistan in 2013. The two were separated when Korpusik came home last fall without Zino, because the military owns the dogs.
Zino was retired and eventually adopted by a woman named Carol Clark in North Carolina.
Korpusik, who lives in Georgia, never forgot Zino and worked to find out what happened to him, as many other soldiers do after they are separated from their working dogs. Eventually Korpusik found Clark, and she is giving Zino back to him.
It's very difficult to not bond with an animal that is quite literally saving your life on a day-to-day basis.Nate Korpusik
"It's very difficult to not bond with an animal that is quite literally saving your life on a day-to-day basis," says Korpusik. "Everyday you're asked to go out on a patrol — and not just go out on a patrol, but actually lead the patrol, clearing the way, looking for explosives, weapons caches. You're the point person to try and keep everybody safe. So it's very difficult to not bond with Zino because he's keeping your life and the lives of your closest friends safe."
Now, thanks to Clark, that bond is being renewed as Zino returns to Korpusik's side. "It's going to be very difficult," admits Clark, "but it's something that has to be done. I think of it as if my child was missing or my child had gotten kidnapped, I would move heaven and earth to get her back to me and I think that's the bond that Nate and Zino have."
Doc, the main character in John Steinbeck's novel "Cannery Row" would always tip his cap to dogs when he passed them on the streets of Monterey, California. I tip my cap today to Zino and Nate, but especially to Carol Clark.
What she is doing is an act of extraordinary generosity.
- Nate Korpusik, Army Specialist who served in Afghanistan. He and the German Shepherd Zino were partnered on patrols for IEDs and other weapons.
- Carol Clark, the new owner of Zino who is returning him to Nate.
This segment aired on March 21, 2014.