Wagging her tail excitedly, Taylor, a yellow Labrador, walks out of a military kennel with a big smile on her face.
This will be the last time she’ll spend her time at a military base.
Taylor, who’s affectionately called Princess Taylor or Tay-Tay by those she worked with, had served the army all her life. She had two Afghanistan tours under her leash. She was so good at what she did that the Taliban even placed a bounty on her head.
The United States Army has employed thousands of dogs into active service.
Hundreds of them are deployed overseas and are assigned to handlers who will take care of them while on the field. These dogs serve different purposes, from search and rescue, bomb search, and tracking, among others.
But now, the military life and its dangers are behind Taylor.
As she retires to a more peaceful civilian life, dogs like her are given up for adoption. Those who take priority are the servicemen and women they lived with, ate with, and served with.
These reunions are not that simple, however.
The logistics of transporting them to their best friends can cost thousands of dollars. Other veterans, no matter how much they want to keep their former partners, cannot afford it.
To bridge this gap, a kind-hearted veteran flight attendant for United Air stepped in.
Molli Oliver’s passion is simple. As she shared with NBC News:
“I love the dogs, and I love my military that’s taking care of my freedom my whole life. So it’s a win-win to combine the two.”
To give back to these heroes, Oliver became a hero to these veterans. She has facilitated four of these reunions and all of the expenses are from her own pocket.
She escorted Taylor into the first-class cabin and sat with her to ensure that she gets to her former handler, Sergeant Tom Hanson.
Back in Boise Airport, the sergeant waited anxiously. The soldier has protected Taylor from firefights, amidst whizzing bullets and cracking shells. In return, Taylor was dedicated to sniffing bombs under his feet.
For Sgt. Hanson, Taylor is more than just a dog and a partner in the service.
He described his best friend on NBC News:
“It’s like a part of me that’s been missing. And getting her back now will make me whole again.”
After two years of being apart, Taylor is finally home with Sgt. Hanson. The moment she saw her best friend, Taylor sprinted towards the soldier. She was unable to contain her enthusiasm and excitement, and neither could he.
And this time, they’ll both lead a peaceful life together and in many years to come.
The reunion would not have been possible for the efforts of a kindhearted citizen. She did her part in making sure that these veterans feel loved and supported.
Watch this tear-jerking reunion between a military dog and her handler after spending two years apart.
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