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VT Veteran Reunited With Missing Service Dog on Memorial Day

Army Specialist Eric Green's dog Willie went missing on Sunday and was later found on Shelburne Rd.
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

A scary situation for a veteran overnight turned into a happy reunion with his closest companion on Memorial Day.

Army Specialist Eric Green says his dog, Willie, adopted him when he was stationed in Korea in 2006.

“He started kind of following our unit around,” said SPC. Green. “He'd come out and he'd go on runs with us and go on marches with us."

When it was time for Eric to come back home to Vermont, Willie came too. 

“He's like my best friend. We go almost everywhere together,” said Green.

So when Eric realized Willie was missing on Sunday afternoon, he went into panic mode.

“As the night got longer, that's when I started to worry,” said Green.

Eric doesn't know exactly how Willie escaped but he does know that Burlington Police picked up the pooch on Shelburne Rd. around the same time Eric realized he was missing.

They wouldn't be reunited until the next morning.

“I couldn't even put it into words losing him. So getting him back is just awesome,” said Green.

Those are tears of friendship and love because Willie is more than a pet. He's also Eric's service dog.

After Korea, Eric was deployed to Iraq in 2009 where he worked as a medic at the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad.

He told us if anything bad happened in Baghdad that year, he witnessed the aftermath of it at the hospital.

Willie helps with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

“He can sense when I'm down. He comes over. He kind of, pulls me back to reality sometimes when I'm thinking about things that I don't really want to. We didn't have that deployment where maybe 1 or 2 things happened. We had that deployment where maybe 1 or 2 things happened each day,” explained Green.

It's a relationship that's lasted several years, over thousands of miles and through one scary night.

Willie just started his service training in August so he's still new to his job.

Here's to no more running away for Willie and no more sleepless nights for Eric.


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