CLEVELAND - John Nyerghes missed his best friend from the Army.
They served together in Afghanistan for a year through danger and friendship.
They went their separate ways when his tour was over.
And after two years Ranger, the five-year old Belgian Malinois, was flown into Hopkins Tuesday by a group that helps reunite war dogs with their former handlers.
Ranger is a TEDD: Tactical Explosive Detection Dog.
And he and John did some of the most dangerous work in the Army, leading the way for their unit with Ranger sniffing out bombs.
They came under fire many times but not one person was lost to a bomb on Ranger’s watch.
“A couple of times I would be searching down a road and it would be just me and the dog out front and nobody around us. You can't have guys around while you're searching and it comes down to it was really just me and him," Nyerghes said. “He was a teammate. He saved a lot of guys.”
After the Army, Ranger was sold to a contractor along with a dozen other dogs to be "repurposed" for either military or civilian uses.
But instead, he and the other dogs were abandoned at Greg Meredith’s kennel near Richmond, Virginia.
“Twelve stayed for 17 months and after the end of 17 months, after five contract failures and no payment we were told to dispose of these dogs however we choose and that was simply not an answer," Meredith said.
He felt that these dogs served their country and deserve a loving home so he offered Ranger and the other abandoned war dogs to the United States War Dogs Association.
“John has been looking well over a year to find out where Ranger was and we took charge of the 12 dogs at that kennel in Virginia and it turns out that Ranger was one of those,” War Dog Association President Ron Aiello said.
Ranger has some war wounds. A piece of shrapnel in his tail became infected and the whole thing had to be amputated. There's a chunk of his ear missing.
But he's sound; he's okay and has an old Army buddy who will finally give him a home.
“He just deserves it...to be a dog for a while." Nyerghes said.