It was a moment worth celebrating. After years of working in the military, working dog Chickel finally has a permanent home and family.
Staff sergeant Kyle Johnson works with canines in the air force and worked with Chickel while he was stationed at Osan Base in Korea. Chickel worked there as a patrol dog and is remembered by military staff as a goofy but lovable dog.
Now in retirement, Chickel will have a wonderful family to live with: the Johnsons, which includes Kyle’s wife and two young children. It was all made possible by American Humane, a nonprofit that promotes the welfare and safety of animals, and strengthening the bond between animals and people.
American Humane has worked alongside the U.S. Armed Forces for more than a century.
“American Humane is dedicated to ensuring a healthy, happy retirement for MWDs on American soil,” said Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, president & CEO of American Humane. “We are honored to reunite SSgt Kyle Johnson with Chickel, and hope this courageous canine enjoys a restful retirement.”
Johnson has worked with canines in the air force for three years now and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He was more than happy to offer his home to Chickel, who is 9 years old.
“He’s more than a military dog to me, he’s family,” said Johnson. “I’m just happy to have him home – happy to show him what a regular dog’s life is like.”
Chickel is goofy and lovable, and many airmen and fellow canine handlers recall him comforting them during stressful times on the job. Now, Chickel will get to do the same for his new family in North Carolina.
“American Humane is incredibly proud of our work supporting the nation’s veterans, including four-legged military K-9s who play a crucial role in keeping their fellow troops safe,” Dr. Ganzert said.
Retired military working dogs often have medical issues stemming from their physical jobs. American Humane recently launched a Military Working Dog Reunification fund, which will make it possible to bring even more K-9 veterans home to live with military families. Proceeds from the fund will also help give free medical care to these dogs like Chickel — who deserve the special treatment for all they’ve done for our nation.
When Chickel returned home to the United States and saw Johnson, he rushed into his arms. One thing is for certain: the bond that they share is so special.
“It broke Kyle’s heart when he had to return home and leave Chickel in Korea,” Johnson’s mother, Marlene Sims Teekell, said on Facebook. “Chickel has changed our son’s life just as much as Kyle is changing his. Our daughter in law has fallen in love with him and the kids too. I can promise you that he will live a wonderful life with them. Congrats Kyle Johnson for being so persistent to bring home our grandpuppy.”