ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A Bay Area Marine is getting some help from Washington D.C. as he hopes to reunite with the explosives-detecting dog he spent a year with overseas.
Shortly after Nathan Naumann joined the Marines in 2010, he became a dog handler and was paired with a black lab named "Jazzy," whose specialty was detecting IED explosives. Their partnership was a matter of life and death at times during their tour of duty in Afghanistan that lasted about a year.
"She's there when I need her and I'm here for her. So it's something that develops over time. But right from the start, she was family," Naumann said.
Naumann said Jazzy always kept his battalion out of harm's way.
"She would patrol out in front of our squad and she would detect any explosive odors," he said. "She was very good at what she did. She proved that time and time again."
After the pair returned home in 2012, they were separated; Jazzy was re-assigned to the TSA in Pennsylvania where she continued her career as a bomb-sniffing dog and Naumann eventually joined the Pinellas Park Police Department. The two have not seen each other since they parted ways.
Jazzy, however, is 8 years old and is approaching retirement. Naumann wants to get her back but it's unclear if that'll happen. The TSA has a policy to give its canine handlers the opportunity to adopt a retiring bomb-sniffing dog first.
Naumann said he hopes to discuss the situation with Jazzy's current handler.
"She's family," he said. "She always will be and I hope we get her home and give her the retirement she deserves."
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, (D) Pinellas County, is urging the TSA to help Naumann and Jazzy reunite.
"It only seems to be a match made in heaven," Crist said Tuesday. "This would give them an opportunity to extend that service, if you will, in an informal setting, which I think is only appropriate in recognizing the great service of this Marine and also this great canine."
A TSA spokesperson told FOX 13 the agency is open to discussing this situation with everyone involved to come to "the best possible solution for the individuals and the canine."