After serving in the military for a prolonged period, dogs often develop a strong and unbreakable bond with their handlers. The military working dogs and their handlers endure much together, but eventually, they are often separated. These dogs can only serve for so long before they must retire, just like their handlers, who retire at various points in their careers. Although it is a difficult experience to lose one's closest companion, it is a reality that many working dogs must face.
A 9-year-old German Shepherd named Atilla was torn away from his beloved human, Jacob Varela, when Varela left the US Marine Corps. The two were first paired in 2014 and spent three years together, going through everything as a team. According to CBS 42, Varela said goodbye to Atilla in July of 2017 when he left the Marines, but he never forgot the dog he shared so many experiences with.
Years passed and eventually, Atilla was set to retire. The trained tracker dog had reached the end of his career in service, leaving the question of what was next for him. As he approached his golden years, Atilla needed a loving home to support him in his old age and meet all his needs.
Finding a suitable home for an older dog can be challenging, but luckily, Varela heard about Atilla's retirement and immediately offered to adopt him. He reached out to Mission K9 Rescue to make it happen. The non-profit organization helps retired working dogs find suitable homes and spent thousands of dollars working with Atilla and Varela to reunite them.
In a touching video shared by CBS 42, the moment of their reunion can be seen. Varela may have been afraid that Atilla wouldn't remember him, but the moment they saw each other for the first time in three years, all of those fears disappeared.