“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
Corporal Kory Wiens never got the chance to get married and have a family. He was tragically struck down by an enemy improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq when his adult life was just getting started.
He was an American soldier, who raised his right hand and volunteered to fight for his country, knowing full well he would be heading to Iraq or Afghanistan. Kory was willing to give his life in the defense of his country. He never knew when he enlisted he would find a son.
His handsome yellow labrador retriever, Cooper, was more than a dog or an explosive finding weapon to Korey. Cooper was a fellow soldier, a brother in arms, who Korey often referred to as his son. Here is a quote from Kory’s Myspace page which is still up and running. It seems to serve as a tribute to him and Cooper.
“I love my dog that I have here, he is the best thing in Ft. Leonard Wood. My job is to play with him all day!…….. Now I’m in Iraq!!!!! Having a lot of fun, hard to believe huh? Well I have Cooper with me so everything is alright.”
Service members forge bonds through shared hardships, trials and tribulations. This bond is forged even deeper by the faith they share with each other. They know that they will risk their lives for each other and, if needed, make the ultimate sacrifice for one another.
Bonds that run this deep aren’t unique to humans and can sometimes run deeper between man and dog. Giving unquestionable love and loyalty, always eager to please and happy to see you, a dog is truly a man’s or a woman’s best friend.
Dogs in the military do more than save service members’ lives. They are companions, best friends, and even become family members to our troops.
Governor of Oregon Ted Kulongoski, at Kory and Cooper’s funeral said, “Sometimes, a man and his dog truly do become one being. Kory and Cooper served together. They risked life and limb together. And because they did this, they saved many lives together. Many other soldiers have made it home because of them.”
Kory and Cooper, father and son–their legend was cut short, but their stories are forever linked, just as they both would have wanted.
(On July 6, 2007, Corporal Kory Weins and his trusted military working dog, Cooper, were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Muhammad Sath, Iraq.)
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