Skip to comments.Marine returns, reunites with pup
Posted on 09/14/2008 8:39:35 AM PDT by KeyLargo
A Marine who dropped off his German shepherd at PAWS when he was deployed in February has been reunited with his dog.
Marine returns, reunites with pup
September 14, 2008
BY DONNA VICKROY, Staff Writer
Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it, simply, a happy ending.
On a cold day this past February, a young Marine said farewell to his best friend, knowing he might never see him again.
Bound for a second tour of duty in Iraq, the Marine had no one to care for his German shepherd pup. His family was scattered across the country and the relative he was living with locally preferred not to keep the animal. So the Marine relinquished his pet to the Peoples Animal Welfare Society in Tinley Park.
"It was such a sad day," said PAWS director Larry Menconi. "Here was this tough Marine fighting back tears. This dog was his family. He slept with him every night."
The Marine asked that the SouthtownStar not publicly identify him because he's pursuing special ops training with federal law enforcement. He left the dog with shelter volunteers, hoping Ryno would be taken in by another family.
German shepherds, Menconi said, are popular. And Ryno, he said, was a perfect-looking German shepherd.
"He had the tan body, long legs, the black saddle. He was a good-looking dog," Menconi said.
PAWS volunteers fully expected him to be adopted in no time. He was a sharp, friendly dog, who liked to pal around with the pit bulls. But month after month passed, with prospect after prospect passing Ryno by.
"Every time we got close to adopting him out, the person would decide no," Menconi said.
In March, the SouthtownStar featured a photo of Ryno on its front page under the headline "What About Me?" The story encouraged readers to consider adopting one of the many cats and dogs housed at area shelters.
Ryno, it turns out, was too high energy for most would-be adoptive families.
"It broke our hearts," Menconi said. "All of the volunteers bonded with Ryno. Yet we couldn't convince anyone that he was a loving, loyal pet."
Their disappointment turned to wonder a few weeks back when the young Marine again called the shelter, wanting to know how his dog had fared, where the animal had ended up. Upon hearing Ryno was still at the Tinley Park facility, he told them that as soon as the military discharged him, he was coming to get his friend.
When word came Sept. 4 that the Marine would be by the next day to reclaim Ryno, now a 11/2-year-old dog, volunteers made plans to greet the young man with fanfare. They made signs and hung American flags and other decorations.
On that recent Friday, more than 15 volunteers gathered to greet Ryno's owner on the parking lot.
"Ryno was just laying on the ground by the bench outside," said Menconi, "when all of a sudden, he jumped up, looked, did a double-take and then - wham! - he just ran to him.
"It was just a beautiful sight," he said. "There wasn't a dry eye in the place, except, of course, on the face of the Marine."
Ryno ran halfway across the parking lot, jumped up on his owner and put his front paws on the man's shoulders, Menconi said.
The Marine "just rubbed and patted and rubbed that dog," Menconi said.
"I've seen a lot of dog-owner reunions in my day, but this was just tremendous.
"We all walked out of there that day feeling really good."
Volunteer Lisa Gress said the moment made up for all the tough times animal workers can experience.
"Every scratch, every bite, every unhappy person - that reunion made it all worth it," she said.
Karen Schutt, the board's first vice president, and the other volunteers wonder if there wasn't a larger force at work.
"It's just amazing," she said. "Like this was meant to be."
The shelter did not charge the Marine for any of Ryno's care. Instead, they sent him off with bags of food, toys and a carrier he could use to move the dog to his next assignment across the country.
Donna Vickroy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 633-5982.
This needs a “Pass the Kleenex” alert.
I’m crying just as I read this wonderful story.
It's almost like it was meant to be somehow, maybe.
Kudos to that PAWS group and workers.
(( ping ))
“Like this was meant to be.”
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. What a wonderful story.
My son came up with the idea of an organization that would take care of pets that belong to our deployed service men and women.....not sure how to do that but it would be a great idea.....
I am glad there was a happy ending to this story....personally I think the dog was passed over for adoption because he was supposed to be with this Marine.....I call it a God moment....
Semper fidelis ping
I hope so, stopped short of calling it a miracle myself because I'll never forget the people who lost their pets in Katrina, especially that little boy and his dog, Snowball, at that bus. Story broke my heart, and I will never forget it. Now people who have lost their homes are turning their pets into shelters.
Your son sounds like a wonderful, compassionate person, and I think it would be a good idea, too, would be willing to support such an organization. If I weren't getting old, I'd be willing to take in a pet for our troops. I couldn't handle a big dog like that especially if it is hyper. That wears off in time, and the dog will settle down now that it's reunited with its owner. It could have been the hyperactivity was a form of acting out, such as people do. Pets do engage in aberrant behavior sometimes when they feel insecure.
Me too. I love stories like these.
Thank you so much.....