Brent Grommet wants his dog back.
Grommet, a specialist with the 101st Airborne based out of Fort Campbell, Ky., in the Army, is trying to find out who adopted his service dog, Matty. Grommet and Matty served together in Afghanistan before being separated last July after an improvised explosive device went off and injured them both.
Grommet, 23, of De Soto, said he has always intended to adopt Matty when he returned home, but while he was recovering from combat injuries, the dog was adopted. Now Grommet said he’s just trying to find out where Matty is.
“I just want to find the people who have him,” Grommet said. “I want to talk to them, see if they’d be willing to sell the dog and just try to get my dog back.”
Grommet and Matty first met in 2012. Grommet went to dog-training school and was paired up with the German shepherd.
The duo spent weeks training together before they were deployed to Afghanistan.
“It was stressful,” Grommet said. “You’re out there every day searching for IEDs.”
The two developed a bond in the high-pressure combat zone.
“We were extremely close,” Grommet said. “He wasn’t just a dog, he was another brother.”
Grommet said Matty was good at what he did.
“That dog has saved my butt, along with everyone I’ve worked with butts, more than once,” he said.
Last July Matty discovered an IED, but it was detonated before the duo could evacuate the area.
“I got blown up inside of a truck,” Grommet said. “It sucked, but he was with me.”
The explosion injured his back and sustained other injuries. He recently had a lengthy procedure to treat his back.
“I just had neurosurgery on my back,” he said. “I collapsed two levels of discs and had severe central canal stenosis.”
Matty was injured as well. Grommet said the dog blew out on his back rear knee — he tore the ACL, meniscus and had other issues.
The injuries weren’t life threatening, but Matty was forced to retire as a service dog.
When Matty and Grommet returned to the United States in July, Matty went to his kennels and Grommet returned home to Missouri.
During deployment, Matty’s home kennel was switched to one in North Carolina. Brent Grommet said he was familiar with the adoption process at his old kennel, but the new one had some changes.
“You always want to adopt your dog,” Brent Grommet said.
After being injured, Grommet has been staying with his father Don Grommet in De Soto. The two began trying to adopt the dog.
Don Grommet, who works for the ambulance district in St. Clair, first had to find Matty.
After several months of searching, Matty was discovered at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. With Matty located, Don said he began the adoption process.
“I filed all the paperwork I was told I needed to file,” Brent Grommet said.
The Grommets began checking in weekly to find out the status of the adoption. In February the Grommets were told Matty was in surgery to repair his knee.
When Brent Grommet got out of his surgery on March 27, however, he found out that Matty had been adopted by a civilian.
“I haven’t seen the kid cry until the day they told him they adopted his dog out,” Don Grommet said. “He was pretty upset about it.”
Grommet said he’s been stuck in a Freedom of Information Act loop while trying to gather information about who adopted Matty. He said he can’t get a straight answer.
“Basically I’ve been lost in FOIA request forms,” Grommet said. “I haven’t gotten any information back. Anything.”
Brent Grommet said anyone with any information about how to find Matty’s new owners can call him at 314-620-1970.