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Las Vegas veteran reunites with military dog

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Posted at 7:08 AM, Jun 09, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Dogs are often called a man's best friend. That statement proves to be true in the case of Army veteran Michael Steponovich and his pup Popeye.

"It's so weird when you meet your military dog whenever you go to a new duty station because they almost always mirror your personality and that was the case with me and Popeye," Steponovich said.

While Steponovich served in South Korea for a year and a half, he was partnered up with Popeye, an explosives detection dog with a big personality.

"He's incredibly playful. He's is so high energy," Steponovich said. "We did a lot of patrolling on base. we searched a lot of vehicles did various missions together put in a lot of hours a couple of 1000 probably."

Eventually, Steponovich finished up his orders and he was back in the states. Popeye stayed behind and had a tough time adjusting to life without his partner.

"They told me when I was here in Las Vegas that he was having severe separation anxiety. He was chewing on his tail," Steponovich said.

Until he received the call saying Popeye was retired early and ready for adoption. The American Humane society also stepped in to help with the cost.

"It's very difficult for military working dog handlers to get their dog especially if their dogs are overseas. It's out of pocket for us." Steponovich said. "They literally covered his flights, they covered his medication, his food, gave me any gear that I wanted. I'm forever grateful for what they did."

The moment they were reunited, was like no time had passed.

"I'm so happy to have my boy back," Steponovich said.