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Veteran and his dog reunited after 10 years

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After being separated for 7 years, two Iraqi war veterans have been reunited, the Herald-Times reported today. But these were no ordinary veterans. Air Force Sgt. Harvey Holt and his partner, Jackson, a 10-year-old Belgian Malimois, survived roadside bombs and sniper attacks during their 6-month deployment in Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

From the beginning, Holt knew Jackson was a special dog. But not everyone was fond of Jackson. In fact, some of the Army soldiers they served with were so uncomfortable with Jackson that Holt frequently had to sleep outside the barracks in a sleeping bag beside Jackson. They went through some hair-raising experiences, such as the one where Jackson found a sniper hiding in hay, and pulled him out by his leg. Part of Jackson's job was to locate explosives before they blew up.

When it came time to return to civilian life, Holt had to turn Jackson over to new handlers. Holt and Jackson had bonded tightly during their time working together, and within a couple of days after he left Jackson, Holt had a special tattoo inked on his left leg, one of Jackson's face.

In the fall of 2012, a social media campaign was launched to reunite Holt and Jackson. A petition drive on gathered over 10,000 signatures calling for Holt and Jackson to be reunited.

Seven years after their separation, Holt is a deputy with the Greene County, Ind. sheriff's department and Jackson has retired from the military. Holt jumped at the chance to adopt him. Holt picked up Jackson this week, and they returned to Bloomfield yesterday where a hero's welcome awaited their arrival.