As reported in STLToday.com and elsewhere, a Belgian Malinois bomb-sniffing dog, named Ddaphne (the spelling is a reference to a training program she came out of) has come home to a family in Festus, Missouri. Army Staff Sgt. James R. Ide was a dog handler and trainer, who was killed in action last August 29th in Afghanistan at the age of 32. He had worked with Ddaphne since 2006, and she was with him when he was killed. His widow, Mandy, asked if she would be able to adopt the dog when it had completed its mission, and U.S. Army eventually acceded to that request. Ddaphne reportedly needed medication to manage post-traumatic anxiety after the death of Staff Sgt. Ide.
Ddaphne arrived after a thirteen hour flight from Germany, accompanied by Army Staff Sergeant Skipper Green. Video via KSDK below, of the charmingly ceremonial hand-over of Ddaphne to the Ide family.
These kinds of stories — of dogs being returned from Afghanistan or Iraq to bereaved families of soldiers — are not that uncommon. Some might say it’s evidence that Americans are altogether too crazy about their canines, out of all proportion to reality; but I’ll take that over the kinds of alternative cultures where dogs are treated with contempt and cruelty, any month of the year, day of the week, or hour of the day.
Staff Sgt. James Ide had served two tours in Iraq. He was killed on his first tour in Afghanistan. He had enlisted in the Army after his high school graduation in 1997.