Serving in the armed forces is one of the toughest jobs ever. Not only do army men and women leave their loved ones behind, they're often posted in some of the most dangerous places in the world to fight on our behalf.
In 2010, David Herrera was deployed in Afghanistan to serve with the Marine Corps, but unlike many other servicemen, he was assigned a very special companion to keep him and his fellow soldiers safe.
For the 7 months that the 29-year-old soldier served in the Asian country, he had Kash, an IED detection dog by his side. The pair had previously trained together in Hartsville, S.C before they were both deployed to the war zone to ensure the safety of the troops, an experience that brought them closer to each other everyday.
"Kash was definitely a morale booster," Herrera told The Dodo. "He stuck with me through it, 24/7. He lived with me. He fought with me. He’s been through it and seen it all."
Unfortunately, the tightknit pair were forced to separate when their tours ended. Herrera made his way to California to take on other duties within the forces while Kash embarked on a another tour of duty with a new handler.
Life without Kash was tough and although Herrera was convinced he would never see the wonderful dog again, he never stopped holding out hope.
"I honestly thought I’d never see him again. I really did," Herrera said. "I’d looked into adopting him, but I was starting as a drill instructor, so it didn’t happen. It was a rough time not having him around, after the dust settled."
Nearly 6 years later, both Herrera and Kash are now retired from the army and have not seen each other. Herrera heard from an old friend that his former companion has returned to the U.S so he decided to seek him out.
Turns out, Kash had been adopted by a handler and is currently living in Texas. While on a trip to visit his family in the Lone Star state, Herrera reached out for a reunion with Kash. The retired service dog's new owner was more than happy to oblige.
When the long-awaited day arrived, Kash, who is now partially blind, immediately recognized Herrera's familiar face and scent. The old pals got to spend time with each other and Herrera was relieved to see Kash living in a good home.
"I’m not one to show much emotion, but I think it was definitely something I needed. To be able to catch up with someone I was with for seven months was great," said Herrera.
The special moment was caught on camera and Herrera later shared the video on his Facebook page. Kash can be seen wagging his tail, sniffing and running around his former handler. Check it out:
“I’m just glad I got to see him again after so long,” he said. “We had so many great times out there," Herrera said in another interview with Inside Edition.
Kash's current owner told Herrera to keep in touch often and he is welcome to visit his old friend anytime he wants so they don't have to wait years to see each other again.
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[H/T: The Dodo]