There aren’t many bonds as strong as that between a man and his dog. Spc. Brent Grommet and his military working dog, a Czech German shepherd named Matty, went through basic training together, were deployed together and were injured together when a roadside IED detonated. On their flight home from Afghanistan, Brent slept on Matty’s crate.
Upon arriving in the United States on July 20, 2013, Matty and Brent were separated. It was standard practice – Matty went for a health check up, and Brent knew he had the sole right to adopt him. But that was the last time Brent saw Matty.
“It’s like someone stole your kid in front of you,” Brent told the New York Post, “and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Brent, now 23, returned from Afghanistan a changed man. He suffered from a traumatic brain injury, hearing loss and spinal-cord injury. He’s undergone surgery for his spine, but he’s in pain constantly. He also suffers from migraines, breathing problems and PTSD. His father believes his son desperately needs his dog back.
“It’s not allowing him to heal,” Don Grommet said. “If he had the dog to take care of, to take for walks, it would force him to fight through the pain. Because he’ll never let that dog suffer. Nobody knows what the two of them went through over there except for each other.”
Don has been searching for his son’s dog since Matty went missing. He turned to Fort Bragg, the military base that handles service dogs, and was stonewalled until he got an anonymous tip from someone on base. She directed him to Richard Vargas, who was in charge of military dog adoptions.
“He said, ‘I adopted the dog out legally, so there’s nothing you can do about it,’” Don said. “He was very rude. So then the fight was on.”
Brent also sought Vargas and didn’t receive an answer.
“It was a 30-second conversation," he said. "I nicely explained what happened to me, and could he help me find my dog? He informed me that was not his job and that there wasn’t anything he could do, and not to contact him again.”
The Grommets believe either Vargas or someone close to him has Matty.
“It would make more sense to break regulation for that,” Brent said.
To this day, Brent misses Matty and doesn’t have any answers.
“It’s hard, it really is,” Brent said. “If I just wanted a dog, I could get a dog. I don’t want a dog. I want my dog.”
Sources: New York Post
Image via New York Post