PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – A combat soldier is happy to have his military hero dog home after a painful few months of separation. The pair’s bond grew while serving three tours and 50 combat missions together.
Staff Sgt. Justin, whose last name is confidential due to operational security, had not seen Bond since December.
“Reuniting me with Bond, it’s pretty awesome,” Staff Sgt. Justin told the crowd gathered to see the reunion on Saturday.
Justin’s longtime girlfriend Sarah spoke to News 3 on behalf Justin’s behalf because of the emotional nature of the day. She decided to look for help after seeing Justin struggle without his four-legged battle buddy.
“I couldn’t imagine the bond that Justin and Bond have forged through all their combat experience and so it was very difficult to see the two separated and definitely emotional,” Sarah explained.
She reached out to the American Humane Association, or AHA. Capt. Jason Haag with the AHA says the connection between soldiers and their K-9 combat partners help as they transition to being home.
“The human-animal bond with the dog and their handler is probably one of the most powerful things at least from my experience now,” Capt. Haag said.
Bond has been with the Pine Mountain Police Department for the past few months. The AHA contacted officers at the police department who agreed to give up Bond.
“It was the right thing to do. We can obtain a new dog. They funded that project for us. Anything we can do to give back to the community, especially as police officers and steward of this community that’s something we decided together to do,” Lt. Daniel Ferrone said.
Sarah says seeing Justin reunited with Bond is something greater than she could have ever imagined.
“This is just a day that definitely surpassed our expectations and we’re just happy to take him home today,” Sarah said.
Capt. Haag says each military working dog saves about 150 to 200 men and women throughout their combat deployment. The National Defense Authorization Act allows military working dogs to be retired on U.S. soil.