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We Salute This Four-Legged Veteran Who Served In Afghanistan

Just in time for Veterans Day, we bring you this tale of an Army dog and the campaign to get him healthy and bring him home to a new family.

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This is Chacky the bomb dog.

s3-ak.buzzfeed.com

Officially he's called a "Tactical Explosive Detector Dog," or TEDD.

Last year the German shepherd prepared for TEDD duty at Vohn Liche Kennels in Indiana, a major training center for police and military dogs, and then was sent to the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona to work with his military handler on hunting and detection techniques.

Here's Chacky with his human "coworker," Army Sergeant Josh Rachel.

The duo didn't exactly begin as best buddies. Josh said that during their weeks of training, "Chacky would start the mornings off trying to bite me as I took him out of his kennel and would not come back to me after I threw him his ball to reward him for finding explosives in training venues."

Eventually Man and Man's Best Friend bonded before their deployment to Afghanistan.

In late 2012 they and the rest of the 173rd Airborne Brigade were based at Bagram Airfield. Josh and Chacky went out on missions together for a month before Chacky developed an immune disorder that brought on arthritis in his hips and atopic dermatitis, a serious skin allergy.

"Once he could no longer go outside the wire on missions, we were charged with sweeping the interior of the base for explosives in the early morning and at night," Josh explained. "Around the middle of November his condition had worsened and he had to be flown out of Afghanistan."

After their time together, Josh wanted to try to adopt Chacky.

"For the longest time I didn’t want to get my hopes up, because it’s not the most common thing for military dog handlers to be able to adopt their dog," Josh recalled.

His sister decided to help him bring Chacky into their family and created a crowdfunding campaign on Rally.org to cover the adoption expenses. But no one knew when Chacky would receive his medical discharge.

In the meantime Chacky was building up his strength and working on getting healthy again.

Chacky was sent to Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex., where he received treatment from November 2012 to August. His veterinarian helped expedite the adoption process to get Chacky back to Josh and his family in Maryland.

Josh shipped out of Afghanistan and was in Italy for a few months when the head trainer at Bagram emailed with good news: Josh's old bomb dog could be adopted by the end of the summer.

Chacky made some new friends while he awaited Josh's return from overseas.

In mid-August Chacky arrived at the Rachel family home in Maryland. He spent several weeks getting to know the Rachels and their pets, including Willy, a Doberman pinscher puppy belonging to Josh's sister.

The family filmed the happy reunion of these two soldiers.

View this video on YouTube

Josh is settling back into U.S. life and spending quality time with Chacky, who still has some lingering health problems. The family continues fundraising for Chacky to help pay for his ongoing healthcare.

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