On July 18, 2012, Joshua Ashley told his mother that he wanted to adopt his military dog, Sirius, and that he’d like her to look after German Shepherd until he had finished his deployment in Afghanistan. The next day, Sgt. Ashley, 23, was killed by an improvised explosive device while he was on patrol. Sirius was with him at the time.
Now almost four years later, Sirius has completed his military duty (after one additional deployment) and has found a new home with Ashley’s mother, Tammie, the Daily Bulletin reports.
Sirius, who struggles with PTSD, did not bond well with other handlers and, for the past year and a half, has been kept at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
Sirius was officially retired from military duty in a “passing of the leash” ceremony that was held last month at Camp Lejeune. The event took place at the kennels on the base, which have been named in honor of Sgt. Ashley. Tammie Ashley flew from her home in Rancho Cucamonga, California, to attend Sirius’ ceremony and to prepare the dog for his trip across the country.
“I think for Sgt. Ashley’s family to adopt Military Working Dog Sirius brings them a lot more closure,” Lt. Col. David Hyman said in a statement. “As a gold star family, losing a loved one overseas in combat is a pretty tragic event, and it has been several years now that they have continued to deal with that loss. Bringing Sirius back to them is almost like bringing back Sgt. Ashley.”
Tammie Ashley was waiting at the airport when Sirius’ flight landed.
“It was the strangest thing,” she told CBS Los Angeles. “He was smelling my face like he was going to lick it, and it was almost like ‘I recognize you.’ Like, ‘You were Josh’s mom.’”
Thank you for your service and your sacrifice, Sgt. Ashley. And thank you, too, Sirius.