Retired Marine to be Reunited with Dog that Saved his Life

Lance Corporal Bradley O’Keefe was deployed in Afghanistan several years ago. At that time he was WMD Earl's handler. In war and other very high stress situations, the bond between a handler and his dog becomes very close since their lives literally depend upon each other.

It was on April 14, 2010 that O’Keefe and his battalion were approaching a bridge when Earl saved their lives. According to O'Keefe, “I told everyone to stop because I noticed that (Earl) was acting like there was something going on. Once he got close enough to (the improvised explosive device) there was an insurgent that pushed a button and kind of blew us up.”

After the explosion and in all the confusion Earl ran eight kilometers to O’Keefe’s gear and waited there for him. But O’Keefe would not return because he was instead rushed to a hospital because he had sustained serious injuries to his legs. Earl and O'Keefe never saw each other after that fateful day.

O'Keefe retired and returned to his home in New York to recover from his injuries. His dog, Earl was reassigned and later on he was taken out of the military and began a career in law enforcement. During all this time though, O’Keefe never forgot about Earl. He would often say that, “He (Earl)was the one that saved, not just me, but all the other guys that were with me."

Knowing how much Earl meant to O’Keefe, his sister and several of his friends tried to find Earl off and on after O’Keefe returned home from Afghanistan. But the search for Earl was never successful. But still they never gave up looking.

In May of this year, O'Keefe's sister Rachel Lawson set up a Facebook page called “Bring MWD Earl Home.” Happily within days the Facebook page was producing leads to Earl's whereabouts. First someone was able to figure out that Earl’s military number was P-202 and that it would be tattooed on him. With that key piece of information they were able to find Earl who was now working in Rhode Island with the state police.

Earl was an important part of the state police force and was even used in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. But when the call came to the state police about Earl and his connection to O’Keefe, the state police left the decision about what to do up to Earl’s new handler, Trooper Damien Maddox. “He didn’t hesitate,” according to Lt. Colonel Michael Winquist about Maddox’s decision to give Earl to O’Keefe. “He said it was the right thing to do.”

This coming Friday a ceremony will be held at the state police headquarters and O’Keefe and Earl will finally be reunited for the first time since that terrible day on the bridge in Afghanistan.

O’Keefe is ecstatic about Maddox’s decision and can’t wait for the reunion. He is joined in this anticipation by his sister, Rachel Lawson and everyone who helped search for Earl. It will be a very touching day filled with tears of joy for all involved. Earl will be coming home for good.


Responses to "Facebook page reunites retired Marine and the dog who saved his life (Video)"

  1. Unknown says:

    That was a Great Story I am so Happy to hear that you have the Dog that Saved you and your Troop's Lives.. Fantastic, I wish all stories would end Happy !!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would love to see this reunion!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful hopefully we can see the happy reunion of the two.

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