A dedicated flight attendant hopes to create a nonprofit to transport retired military dogs home and reunite them with their previous handlers.
Marine Sgt. Andrew Mulherron happened to meet flight attendant Molli Oliver on a plane in April. During the long flight, Mulherron mentioned Boone who he called a Labrador partner “he could never forget.”
Through the course of their conversation, Mulherron told her the story of Boone, the Marine’s first bomb dog. He was Boone’s first handler.
Boone, who happens to be involved in German Shepherd rescue and transports them throughout the country to find new homes, felt compelled to help the marine and dog.
“I said, ‘Let me get him for you,’” Oliver said.
As of this month, Boone is still at Fort Leonard Wood. According to Oliver, the black Labrador is set to retire within the next few months. Mulherron is currently deployed, but since he is Boone’s first handler, he gets first dibs.
In June, the Daily Guide spoke to Oliver when she visited Fort Leonard Wood to meet Boone to assess how the dog would handle the reunion when released from service.
During Oliver’svisit, she heard about another Labrador dog named Gordo.
Gordo was released on Monday and Oliver was there to pick him up. Oliver transported and delivered him to his former handler, Army Sgt. Seth Rodenberger at LAX in Los Angeles.
Rodenberder and Gordo were reunited on Tuesday amidst a lot of media attention. The partners were Bronze Star recipients, serving two tours in Afghanistan.
Inspired by the bravery of these heroes, Oliver is currently working on setting up a 501(c)3 nonprofit to help fund the reunification of retiring dogs with former handlers.
“The military does a good job of placing the dogs with former handlers and their families, but there aren’t any services in place for pick up and drop off,” Oliver said.
Generally, soldiers have to shell out money if they wish to transport their military dog partners and reunite with them. Oliver, who was formerly married to a Marine, says helping soldiers get their canine partners back is a way for her to honor them for their service.
“They shouldn’t have to pay for that,” she said.
Oliver, some close friends, and other flight attendants are now working out the logistics of providing this service. Oliver is still forward to the day Boone is released.
“I can’t wait to get Boone and deliver him to Andrew’s parents,” Oliver said.
She says she and Mulherron’s parents are hoping Boone will be released before Mulherron is done serving in his current tour which will end this fall.
“We would love for him to be able to come home to Boone,” she said.