What makes a good Samaritan give up their time and money to help a total stranger? For Molli Oliver, all it took was one emotional conversation she had with a veteran. Oliver has been a flight attendant for more than 40 years, so she's made lots of temporary connections with passengers throughout the years.
But this one stood out to her: she had spoken with a veteran who had been separated from the dog he served with for more than 5 years, but who still broke into tears after mentioning him.
It turned out the man was willing to adopt the dog, but couldn't afford to ship him to his home. Oliver only had one question: where could she find his dog?
The military lets dog handlers adopt their partners when the animals retire, but conflicts between different handlers and reassignments can separate veterans from their partners.
"It's a part of them that's been missing," Oliver explains, and she's made it her job to reunite these dogs with their proper owners.
So far Oliver - who has no connection to the military other than her admiration for them - has brought 5 veterans back together with their partners.
Click to the next page to see one of her most emotional reunions!
Oliver and the dog handlers aren't the only heroes in this story. The dogs are also pretty accomplished themselves. One black lab, named Boone, was given a medal for sniffing out 11 explosive devices in Afghanistan.
Another lab, named Tay Tay, actually had a bounty placed on her head on the Taliban. For 2 years, Army Sergeant Tom Hanson looked after Tay Tay while she supported his special forces unit.
She was responsible for keeping them safe, and it was his job to look after her, including instructing her to hide when things became dangerous.
While Hanson went home when his tour of duty was over, Tay Tay was needed elsewhere, and the pair were separated. Losing a dog that had depended on for so long was unbearable for Hanson.
“When they save your life that many times, they become part of your family,” he said. “It’s so hard to let them go. That’s the hardest part of being a dog handler.”
WATCH: #InspiringAmerica: Best friends from the battle field in Afghanistan are reunited in the US.Posted by NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Thankfully, Hanson and Tay Tay were Oliver's 5th reunion to date. She has no plans to slow down, but needs donations to cover the cost of transporting these dogs.
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