Home News Officer’s selfless act reunites veteran with his combat dog

Officer’s selfless act reunites veteran with his combat dog

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By Brett Gillin

Almost any pet owner can tell you that the bond between animal and ‘owner’ is one of the strongest bonds that can form.  One particular dog, named Spike, formed that bond with not one, but two people: A United States Marine, and a Virginia Capitol police officer.

The story began back in 2010, when U.S. Marine Jared Heine was preparing to join the War on Terror in Afghanistan. According to this story on Fox 8, Heine met Spike when he was just a puppy. Heine and Spike traveled to different military bases throughout 2010, training both of them for the rigors of the war they were about to fight. At the beginning of 2011, both were ready and were deployed to Afghanistan.

Cpl. Heine was serving with the Echo Battery as a Bomb Dog Handler within the artillery unit. As he tells it, the two were practically inseparable. “He was probably one of the most motivated dogs out there,” Heine told reporters with Fox.

Heine and Spike went on more than 100 combat missions together in Afghanistan, according to Richmond.com. Each morning, the two would wake early and patrol for hidden explosives. “Spike lays down next to me, that’s his signal that there’s a bomb there,” Heine explains.

On August 26, 2012, Jared and Spike were on a patrol in Afghanistan, getting ready to head back to the base, when they began crossing an irrigation ditch. “I get across to the other side and one of my buddies come across and asked me to grab something,” Heine explained to Fox 8 reporters. But when the soldier turned around, he stepped on an IED, ripping off both of his legs and sending Heine flying. Heine lost consciousness and suffered severe head injuries in the explosion.

Worst of all, as Heine describes it, he thought he lost Spike during the explosion. But as it turned out, not only did Spike survive, he also was responsible for bringing help back to the injured soldiers.

“He ended up running two miles back where they dropped us off in the Humvee. He thought I was dead,” Heine explained.

While Heine recovered from his injuries, he was told that his relationship with Spike was probably over. “I was not allowed to patrol anymore. It was heartbreaking, you’re with him every single day and then you don’t see him at all,” he explained.

Heine returned to the United States and was reunited with his mother, but he did not feel whole. His mother described their reunion, saying “He landed and I was asking questions about his injury. All he was worried about was pulling paperwork to get Spike back,” his mother told Fox 8.

Heine was told that he was first in line to adopt Spike, so he filed the paperwork and waited. But when it came time to adopt him, Heine was told that Spike had been transferred to another agency and that they couldn’t disclose where the dog went.
Heartbroken, Heine and his mother took to social media to try to find Spike again.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Heine at the time, Spike had been transferred to the Virginia Capitol Police’s K9 unit. There, Spike was paired with officer Laura Taylor, who immediately bonded with the lovable Spike.

“It was pretty much love at first site,” Taylor told CBS News. For two years, Officer Taylor and Spike worked together and became as inseparable as Heine and Spike had become. Together, they spent almost 900 hours in training and performed more than 800 security sweeps. “I didn’t ever expect to not be with Spike until he was an old, old, old man,” she told CBS News.

But all that changed when word got to Taylor and the Virginia Capitol police department that Heine was searching for Spike. When she heard the story and found out that Heine was suffering from PTSD, she knew that no matter how strong the bond she’d developed with him, he belonged with Heine.

On the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, Marine Corporal Jared Heine is reunited with Spike, his four-legged former partner in Afghanistan. “He saved my life so many times...He’s been through a lot, same as me,” Heine said. Spike is currently the K-9 partner of Capitol Police K-9 Officer Laura Taylor.
On the steps of Virginia’s Capitol, Marine Corporal Jared Heine is reunited with Spike, his four-legged former partner in Afghanistan. “He saved my life so many times…He’s been through a lot, same as me,” Heine said.

“He is more important to me than anybody can know, but we have to do what is right for the whole situation,” Taylor told reporters. So Taylor and the Virginia Capitol police department officially retired Spike from the force and reunited him with Heine in an emotional ceremony.

“Take good care of him,” Taylor asked of Heine when passing off Spike. “He means everything to me.”

Heine responded “I promise I will.”

Taylor expects to begin training with a new dog shortly, one which she’s sure she’ll fall in love with again. Meanwhile, Heine told reporters “I feel like a whole person again.”

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