Military dogs provide an invaluable service, both to their country and to the human soldiers they work alongside. These dogs and their handlers always have each other’s backs, and often form close bonds that can last a lifetime.
One US soldier formed a strong bond with a dog named Taylor while serving in Afghanistan — and when Taylor’s military service was over, one group went the extra mile to reunite them.
Taylor, a yellow lab, served two tours in Afghanistan with the US Army. She played a big role in protecting her country — so much so that the Taliban had a bounty on her head, according to NBC News.
But while she was feared by the enemy, she was beloved by her fellow American soldiers, who nicknamed her “Tay-Tay.” She had an especially close bond with Sgt. Tom Hansen, and the two saved each other’s lives in combat: Hansen protected the dog from firefights, while Taylor found bombs hidden beneath his feet.
Despite their close bond, the two ended up separated for two years — but when Taylor’s military career came to an end, it set the stage for a touching reunion.
Former military dogs are put up for adoption, and soldiers they were deployed with get first priority. However, the logistics of getting a dog across the world to reunite with their former handler can be complicated.
But thankfully, they got some help from a United flight attendant named Mollie Oliver, who has been making it her mission to reunite soldiers with their dogs, flying dogs where they need to go at her own expense.
“I love the dogs and I love my military that’s taken care of my freedom my whole life, so it’s a win-win to combine the two,” Mollie told NBC News.
Mollie offered to transport Taylor to Ohio to reunite with Sgt. Hansen — the soldier waited anxiously at Boise Airport for her arrival. “It’s like a part of me has been missing, and you know getting her back now it will make me whole again,” Hansen said.
Finally, Taylor landed safely back in the US, and she reunited with her old friend. Taylor ran straight to Hansen, and there wasn’t a dry eye in sight.
What a beautiful reunion — thank you to everyone who helped reunite this soldier and his beloved dog ❤️🇺🇸
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