Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.
DENVER — A soldier from Colorado was reunited with his two miniature schnauzers, Lola and Apollo, on Friday, nine months after deploying to Iraq.
It’s a reunion that almost didn’t happen, because of what was lost along the way.
“It was rough,” said David Powell, who was caring for the dogs while Army Sgt. 1st Class Herman Haynie was on deployment. “Some nights were really rough.”
Back in June, just one month after fostering the dogs, Lola escaped out a gap in the bottom of Powell’s fence.
“I felt so guilty, so bad about it,” Powell said.
An exhaustive search ensued. Powell posted flyers online, throughout the neighborhood, everywhere.
“And I tell you, it was heart-wrenching for me,” Powell said. “Because if I wasn’t working – I was looking.”
Days went by, then weeks. Powell never lost hope and never let go.
“I took flyers to every vet clinic within five miles of here,” Powell said.
Then, nearly six weeks later, someone picked up Lola. She was found wandering a neighborhood 16 miles away near Denver International Airport.
“I was elated,” Powell said. “I couldn’t get to her fast enough.”
Powell was on cloud nine and the past six months have been good.
“It’s been very smooth sailing,” Powell said. “They’ve been so good.”
But now, the time has come for Powell to let go for good.
Haynie has returned.
“Welcome back,” Powell said as he reached out to shake Haynie’s hand. “Thank you,” Haynie said.
As Haynie walked into Powell’s backyard – he collapsed to the ground and Lola and Apollo rushed to him, licking his face and jumping up and down.
“I missed you guys so bad,” Haynie said. “For him to go to the vets, post pictures, hire private investigators, get the news involved, I couldn’t ask for a better provider.”
“I did my job,” Powell said. “If he ever needs me again - I’m here.”