Facebook helps former Marine find service dog in Virginia Beach

Posted at 7:35 PM, Jul 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-03 20:53:51-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - A former Marine who was looking for his special service dog, Chewie, found out through a Facebook post that the dog was serving in the Virginia Beach Police Department.

Chewie joined the Virginia Beach K-9 unit after the Military cut his program.

But his Marine handler never forgot about the lab, and took action to find him.

It started just as a Facebook page. Daryl Johnston wanted to know where his service dog Chewie was located.

Downsizing in the military had separated the two. Then Johnston discovered Chewie was wearing a different uniform with Virginia Beach Police.

“Once he found out he was still working, he had no intentions of trying to break up that relationship which I was relieved I got to be honest,” says Sgt. Chris Tull with the Virginia Beach Police Department.

Tull wished Johnston could get a dog like Chewie again.

The officer gave money to a fundraiser to buy a puppy for Johnston from Chewie's breeder.

“We all kind of take care of each other and look out for each other. It's kind of a brotherhood there, so when I found out that they were raising money through the Facebook page, I just kind of felt compelled to help out and do what I could,” says Tull.

It's been especially hard for Chewie's former handler.

Johnston adopted a former military dog, only to return him to his combat buddy.

Chewie has been in Virginia Beach since November. He served two tours, so he already came fully trained, saving Virginia Beach $20,000. And like any marine whether they have two legs, or in Chewie's case four, he embodies Semper Fi.

“We've kind of kept him in the Marine Corps family I like to say,” says Tull.

Tull served four years with the Marines.

He's thankful for everything Johnston did to make Chewie the service dog that he is today.

“He has got a phenomenal nose, which is what we want out of him. He's been able to find things that other dogs have a little problem zeroing in on,” says Tull.

Johnston is out of the Marines and living in Texas now.

Tull hopes to reunite the two, giving the lab a chance to see his old buddy. You can bet Chewie won't be the only one jumping with excitement.