WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - David Nilson met Sonny during deployment. They spent most of their time together working on training Sonny so he could detect IEDs. Nilson said because they spent so much time together, the two got close.
"I love the dog, we've been through a lot and done a lot, we're close," said Nilson. He said it made it that much harder when he had to leave Sonny behind after his deployment ended.
However, the two were not separated for long. When Nilson found out Sonny was retiring, he got permission to adopt the dog.
"It was just breathtaking, to see my pup again, it was just awesome," said Nilson. "I was just smiling ear to ear and I think he was doing the same."
Nilson said Sonny is adjusting well to retirement, enjoying the perks of just being a dog.
"I go to class and he just relaxes," said Nilson.
When he was deployed, Nilson said Sonny didn't get treats or have fun toys. "He loves squeak toys now, he just tears them up," said Nilson.
Another new thing for Sonny: petting.
"Petting was a big no-no for service dogs, it distracts them," said Nilson. Now, Nilson said he loves being able to let anyone who wants to pet Sonny.
Even though Sonny can relax now, and he's no longer on the job, he's not just digging in the dirt. Nilson said he still searches for IEDs.
"He goes out and does area searches, when I first brought him home in my backyard he was just searching around," explained Nilson.
Good news through, there were no IEDs in Nilson's backyard, or anywhere else Sonny has been in Wilmington.
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