Our brave soldiers leave a lot behind when they sign up for duty. Many of our bravest citizens put themselves in a position where they must part with their loved ones, whether that means saying goodbye to their wives, husbands, or children. Many soldiers also have to part with their dogs, some after never leaving their side before.
Dogs lack the capacity to know why their owners are leaving, so when their best friends return from service, it’s something like a miracle to them. There are so many heart-warming videos that capture this moment of excitement, when these dogs finally reunite with their close human companions. Here are a few that make us especially teary-eyed.
21-year old Hannah Foraker had never left home before starting basic training. The hardest part? Leaving behind her elderly golden retriever, Buddy. Hannah spent most of her childhood growing up with the pup, going on many camping, swimming and hiking excursions together. Over the holidays, however, the two reunited after 10 months apart, and neither could contain their excitement. Tail wagging, Buddy falls right into Hannah’s lap
This video of a segment on The Queen Latifah Show showcases the great work of Dogs on Deployment, an organization founded by a married military couple who struggled to find a home for their dog when they were both deployed at the same time. Dogs on Deployment aims to match people under similar circumstances with foster parents to take care of their dogs while they’re away. In the segment, US soldier Jess is reunited Emma on the talk show. After a warm welcome home, Jess say, “I’m ready,” eager to see her baby. Emma’s foster mom brings the dog out, and after sniffing around she showers Jess with hugs and kisses.
Not every reunion happens with a dog from back home. Just look at this meeting between U.S. Army Specialist Vance McFarland and Tactical Explosive Detection Dog (TEDD) Ikar. The two served together in 2012, finding roadside bombs in Afghanistan. While the soldier went home, the dog was sent back overseas to continue his important work for the TEDD program. When Ikar finally came back to the US, he was held in a kennel for 17 months after a private contracting company failed to provide the dog work.
Then, three years later after separating, Mission K9 Rescue made it possible for Vance to take home Ikar for good. As Ikar’s first handler, he was sought out by the rescue organization over Facebook, where he was given the option to adopt. Holding a dog toy in his hands, you see Vance worried that Ikar won’t remember him, but those concerns are immediately dispelled when the 5-year old Czech Shepard sees his old war buddy. The sweet pup runs right into Vance’s arms, taking his toy and wagging his tail. Just watching the Vance whisper “I love you” into Ikar’s ear will give you all the feels.