Durban man in bid to bring home furry military mate

2015-03-07 00:00

A DURBAN man is doing everything in his power to bring his explosives sniffer dog, Django, back from Afghanistan.

Former U.S. military AMK9 member Sheldon Holland said his best friend deserves to retire and enjoy a peaceful lifestyle, and hoped that his fellow countrymen will help make this happen.

The two got separated a day before Holland was due to return to South Africa 16 months ago, when he injured himself and was taken to hospital. On his release, Django had already been “returned” to the U.S. Military.

Since then, Holland has dedicated himself to make true on his promise to his canine friend — that he will bring him back to South Africa to spend his days away from the battlefields.

Holland, who was a member of the SAPS Dog explosives unit in the 1990s, was contracted to the U.S. Military in 2011. Around this time he was teamed up with explosives dog Django, and they passed through a certification process in San Antonio, Texas before being deployed to Afghanistan as security detail.

Holland said while he waited to meet his furry team-mate, he had preconditioned himself not to form a close bond, but upon meeting the bouncy German Shepherd, Holland’s heart melted.

“I knelt down next to him for a photo and the next minute he turned his head and just started licking my face.”

From then on, the two were inseparable and they spent over a year and a half together in Afghanistan, working side-by-side under extremely stressful and harsh conditions.

“He is such a character. I would be sleeping and then just feel him licking my face. He knew when I was sad and would always make me laugh.”

A day before Holland was due to head back to South Africa he fell and injured his back and was admitted to hospital.

“When I returned to the base he had already been taken away. I couldn’t even say goodbye. It was terrible.”

Now Holland has started a Facebook page called The Django Homecoming Cause, which documents the pair’s friendship and asks people to help reunite him with his best friend.

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