Soldier Brent Grommet was a specialist in the Army and worked with a bomb sniffing canine partner, a German Shepard named Matty, his war dog. They worked together in Afghanistan finding bombs until one fateful day in 2013 a roadside bomb ended both of their careers. Grommet was sent home to Montana to recuperate from his injuries, and during this time, he filed to adopt Matty permanently. His request was granted, however, the dog was mistakenly given up for adoption to someone else, before Grommet could claim her.
Bureaucratic red tape is what happened next, and no matter where the military man turned, no one seemed to be able to help him find out who adopted his dog. He desperately wanted to find the family and explain what Matty means to him, and what they had been through together, in an effort to convince them to give her back. After almost a year, it appeared that Matty was lost to this brave soldier forever, and his last memory of her would be her leaving the New Jersey airstrip in a crate. She was going to get the medical attention she needed much like her soldier, surely neither thinking it would be the last time they would see each other.
Sometimes the media can do great things, as they did in this case. Grommet and his father spent a lot of time trying to track down the dog, and they found record of her having been at the veterinary clinic at Fort Bragg North Carolina. That however was where the trail ended, much to the young man’s chagrin. The story got picked up on national media and Grommets father was interviewed last Thursday. Within 30 minutes of the airing of this interview, things began to happen. Richard Hudson, a North Carolina Congressman saw the interview and immediately went to work. He stated that he knew he could use his connections to help reunite this soldier with his war dog.
The congressman worked miracles and did indeed find Matty. Through a little bit of convincing, the family agreed to give her back to her rightful soldier. They chose not to go to the drop off of Matty, preferring to allow a third-party to do so. It speaks to the integrity of this family, as it must have been hard to give back a dog they took care of for almost a year. The exchange took place in Fayetteville North Carolina, and no one was happier than Matty. It is said by the family that Matty ran full speed at Grommet and all but tackled him in her elation to be back with her handler.
The Army has admitted to the mix up and has apologized, as under ‘Robbys Law,’ a federal law, a wounded handler of dogs in the service are to have the last say on the placement of the dog. They say that the dog was not injured but was relieved of duty due to a bone spur, at which point they put her up for civilian adoption. They went on to state that they never received the soldiers papers requesting permanent guardianship of the dog. Grommet spent so much time training and working with Matty that his decision was immediate that he wanted to adopt her and keep her for good.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska