When Tech Sergeant David Simpson was forced to retire from the Air Force for medical reasons, it not only meant saying goodbye to his job, but to his favorite work companion as well. For years, Simpson had served as a handler for Robson -- known affectionately as Robbie -- a German Shepherd who worked in the Air Force as a service dog. Still on active duty, Robbie was put in the care of a new handler when Simpson left the military last year.
""[It's] probably the most difficult task we have to do, other than having your dog passing away," Simpson told FOX 13 Tampa. "It was very tough to go through, and you don't know if the dog understands. Having to say goodbye, that is heartbreaking."
But eventually, Robbie had to retire as well -- now, the dog is finally joining the ranks of other retired vets who have served their country. As soon as Simpson heard the news, he contacted the Air Force to see if Robbie was up for adoption, then booked the next flight to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to be reunited with his dog.
"I wish he could have been in the seat next to me the whole time," Simpson said. "It was like shock and awe. I couldn't believe it was happening." Now, Robbie and Simpson are both back in the U.S., and the German Shepherd is acclimating to family life in Florida. "My goal for him is to allow him to have as much fun and relaxation for the rest of his life," Simpson said. "I just want him to enjoy his retirement."