For Sgt. Wess Brown of the U.S. Army, it’s hard to fully express his feelings for his dog, Staff Sgt. Isky Brown. “He means everything to me. Next to my family, it’s Isky,” Brown told ABC News. Together, Brown and Isky completed over 300 missions. They traveled the world searching for explosives alongside fellow troops and were picked as part of advance teams clearing spaces for generals, the secretary of defense and President Obama.
In May 2014, Brown and Isky were deployed to Afghanistan and were called out on a small mission in Herat province. As they were finishing their search, the situation quickly changed. “We had shots fired at us. We get behind the vehicle where the steps come down. As we’re going up, there was a small explosion,” Brown said. As he climbed the stairs, Isky was behind him, but Isky slipped off, and one of his legs got caught in the stairs, breaking it in six spots.
The two were evacuated from the front lines, and within 36 hours, Isky was undergoing surgery in Germany. After the long operation, doctors were able to stabilize the leg, but scans revealed a tumor on the injured leg. If the tumor had been left untreated, it would have spread to his brain and killed him within six months. “When they said, ‘Well, we’re going to have to take the leg — we found this tumor,’ I immediately was like, ‘He’s mine. I want the paperwork to start now.’ It’s been a little over three years now, and the worst thing he is now is fat,” Brown said.
Brown and Isky have since relocated to Catlett, Virginia. The two are adjusting to a quieter lifestyle. Isky is registered as Brown’s service dog. “A lot of things became a little easier. Some things still feel impossible, because I’m going through my retirement, so there’s a lot of things I can’t do with him,” Brown said. “We’ve been through a ton of good times, a few bad times. And just kind of looking at him — I mean, if I have the same attitude that he does, life would be a lot easier.”
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