HOUSTON, TX – A U.S. Marine was finally reunited with the trusted service dog that worked side-by-side with him during a tour of Afghanistan.
It was a reunion two years in the making at Houston’s Hobby Airport over the weekend.
"I’m super excited to be here, glad she's coming home today,” said Marine Corporal Joaquin Aranda.
She is Donna, and she’s not your average yellow Labrador.
"She did a great job with us over there and kept all of my guys safe,” said Corporal Aranda.
Two years ago, Marine Corporal Joaquin Aranda spent nine months working with the highly trained bomb detector dog in Afghanistan.
"She was always with me, [I] trained with her, we'd go on patrols, ground patrols, vehicle patrols," said Corporal Aranda.
And by dangerous patrols, he means looking for explosives.
It’s estimated that each military dog saves as many as 200 service members lives.
"She never missed a bomb, and I’m really proud of that, that's a big deal. It’s not how many you find, it's how many you missed and she didn't miss any and that's a real big deal,” he said.
But now, Donna is retiring from military service.
The reunion was made possible by the American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue. The organizations work together to bring military war dogs back to the U.S. to reconnect with their former handlers.
Marine Corporal Joaquin Aranda is adopting Donna, giving her a forever home she deserves.
"We all loved her, so the least I could do with her retiring is give her a good home, lots of land to play around, lots of love, so I’m excited that she'll be loved at home,” said Corporal Aranda.
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