WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- What would you do if you found out that your family pet actually belonged to someone else? A Whiteville woman adopted a retired Army K9 just three weeks ago, and now she’s giving him up to the man she says is his rightful owner.
He may look, and act, like your average German Shepherd.
"He's a big baby and he sleeps in the bed with me," said Carol Clark.
If you get a closer look at Clark’s four legged friend has a few markings that stand out.
"His name is Zeno and his tattoo number is R806,” said Spc. Nate Korpusik. “The two of us were in charge of locating IED's and anything that would go boom in Afghanistan."
After serving their country together for twelve months in Afghanistan, Zeno and Spc. Korpusik were separated after a vet gave Zeno his discharge from the Army.
"He was then supposed to be given back to his handlers, and over the course of paperwork or however it works, he got lost in the shuffle for the last few months,” said Spc. Korpusik.
Months of searching lead Korpusik to the Jones County Sheriff’s Office who had put Zeno up for adoption since he was trained to sniff out bombs instead of drugs by the Army. That’s when Korpusik found that Zeno had a new home with Clark.
"The only thing I can equate it to is like finding one of your children that you've lost," said Korpusik.
Clark says after hearing Zeno’s story she knew where he needed to be, at home with an old war buddy.
"When you have an animal that has literally protected you, and saved you on multiple occasions, you develop a bond that you develop a bond that is only likening to that of a father and son and that's the level of excitement that it brought to me,” said Korpusik.
Zeno and Spc. Korpusik are now headed back to Georgia where Korpusik says his four legged friend will live the retired life that he deserves.