SPC Joe Steenbeke is an Indiana veteran that tries to reunite with his soldier dog. It was all the way back in 2012 when Joe Steenbeke trained to be a Technical Explosive Detection Dog (TEDD) Handler. That’s when he went to K-9 training in Denver, IN. And that’s also where he met Tess.
In the next month, the two of them went through a very intensive training and not only became great at what they were meant to do, but they also formed a very strong bond. And after that came the deployment. Joe says that, in deployment, he and Tess would sometimes spend multiple days at a time alone. Now, he is back home, but Tess still hasn’t retired. Joe’s one hope is that he’ll be able to adopt her once she retires.
“You truly never know which car you’re going up to search could have a bomb on it, which could have a bad guy in it that’s going to try and shoot you and your dog,” Joe told WNDU. “You truly just have to go off of your training and your practice and things that you worked on and you have to 110 percent trust that bond that you have with your dog.”
Joe has been trying to get Tess back for years, but she is still deployed.
Joe’s wife – Steph – knows how important it would be for her husband if they finally manage to adopt Tess. Steph has been helping Joe in his effort non-stop because she sees how reuniting with his former canine partner would really help with his PTSD.
“I knew I needed to do everything I could to make it happen,” Steph said. “To know that missing piece gets to come home would just mean everything to us and it would all just be worth it.”
Joe and Steph are hoping they’ll manage to adopt Tess when the time comes. They are also hoping that their story can help spread awareness and other retired TEDD handlers will be able to adopt their soldier dogs, as well.