Atila and Sergeant Jacob Varela spent three years working together in a special operations unit. Their reunion shows just how much they care for one another.
In 2014, Jacob began active service. Soon, he met with Atila, his combat tracking dog.
Over the next three years, Jacob and Atila kept their fellow soldiers safe. Thanks to Atila’s finely tuned senses, the group was always alerted to any danger.
“We were together for everything. Everywhere I went, he was with me.” – Sergeant Jacob Varela told WGN.
Eventually, Jacob’s years of service were up. He said one final, tearful goodbye to Atila, who had always kept him and the other troops safe. Jacob knew that Atila would continue to excel.
Back home, Jacob enrolled in college and began studying for a post-army career.
A few years passed, and Jacob heard from one of his old colleagues that Atila was retiring. Jacob hoped that he and the dog could reunite.
So he started reaching out to people in the Marines to see if there was any way to get Atila.
Soon, he found a group called Mission Canine Rescue that specialized in reuniting retired service dogs with their former handlers.
The people at Mission Canine Rescue did all that they could to get Atila over to Jacob.
Eventually, they were able to call Jacob with good news: They had secured a flight for Atila. In just a little while, they would be together once more.
On the day of the flight, Jacob was nervous.
He was worrying that Atila would have forgotten him or would resent him for leaving the animal behind. But he was also excited. No matter what, Jacob was getting a second chance with Atila. How many former handlers are that lucky?
So the flight with Atila onboard landed.
The worker at Mission Canine Rescue took the dog into the airport. The dog had no idea just how close Jacob was.
Then Jacob spotted Atila across the airport.
He was so happy to see Atila looking healthy. Then Jacob started running toward the dog while vocalizing his happiness.
Atila was shocked to see Jacob again, especially as he now had long hair, which he never could have gotten away with in the military!
The dog ran toward Jacob. They both hugged.
Atila’s tail kept on wagging back and forth like crazy.
People in the airport were staring. But Jacob didn’t care.
After all, so what if he was happy to see his dog again after so long?
Soon, the dog rolled over for Jacob to give some belly rubs. Jacob started scratching away.
Clearly, there was going to be a lot of petting over the next few days!
A news report on this reunion then appeared on YouTube. It soon went viral.
To date, it has gained over 9.9 million views. It also has more than 266,000 likes and 6,700 comments. People have been saying things like this:
Clearly, Jacob and Atila have inspired many people.
Watch their heartfelt reunion below.
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