Iras K-9 soldier
Photo by Richard Adkins/WRAL News
Staff Sergeant Andy Wolf greets his lifesaving companion Iras.

The war in Afghanistan has taken a deadly toll and inflicted debilitating injuries on American soldiers, but one member of the military and his unit survived without suffering any wounds. They owe it all to a trusted aide—Iras, a bomb-sniffing K-9 whose sense of smell was a lifesaver.

Staff Sergeant Andy Wolf went through two tours of duty in Afghanistan and was accompanied by Iras, a dog who sniffed his way through more than 100 combat missions.

“We didn’t lose one soldier or one piece of equipment through those missions,” Staff Sgt. Wolf declared. He and Iras were inseparable.

Iras brought the unit through the fighting, helping it dodge improvised explosive devices (IEDs), but the dog was not as fortunate. During one mission, Iras took a hit and needed to have surgery. He was medivacked to Germany, but the injury caused Iras to lose his spleen.

Iras recovered from his surgery and, four months later, was back on duty helping Staff Sgt. Wolf and his unit to avoid life-threatening IEDs. He would soon, however, face an incident that would bring Staff Sgt. Wolf as close to death as he had experienced in his two tours in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Wolf had started to cross a bridge with Iras when the dog suddenly sniffed and stopped. Then he sat down. Staff Sgt. Wolf soon discovered that there was an IED under the bridge that could have killed him.

Eventually, Staff Sgt. Wolf returned to his wife, Samantha, and his sons, Tyler and Dominick, in Morrisville, North Carolina. Iras was discharged from active duty and is now enjoying his remaining years no longer sniffing for IEDs. Staff Sgt. Wolf and his lifesaving partner were recently reunited. There was love and gratitude expressed by the soldier for the amazing dog whose nose saved lives in the line of duty.

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