Some may call it chance; others will say it is fate. Either way, this heartwarming, Kleenex-grabbing doggie tale is sure to make you smile.
It began almost three years ago when while serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Andrew Harmon was teamed up with a military Labrador named Rebel, reports WIS News 10 in West Columbia, South Carolina.
The two spent every moment together, eating, sleeping, working — creating a bond many humans never experience. For seven months, Rebel helped search and find IEDs and protected servicemen and servicewomen.
“I’ve had numerous dogs before, but the bond wasn’t like this,” Harmon told WIS. “You know, I can’t describe it.
Following his first tour, Harmon returned home, hoping he’d see Rebel again one day.
“I just prayed a lot for the dog. I was like, ‘God, I hope one day I get to see him again,'” he told the news station, remembering the connection the two shared.
His wish came true — although it wasn’t an easy journey for Rebel.
The military dog reportedly suffered a blow to the head following an explosion, causing him to experience strokes. He was sent home to retire with a woman in North Carolina, but soon after, doctors found a tumor on Rebel’s knee, which required surgery. His owner couldn’t afford it so, as reported, she called on Harmon, reuniting the two again.
“It’s just indescribable,” Harmon told WIS. “It was almost like when I had my daughter or when I got married, something like that. That’s the best way I can describe it.”
Harmon’s sister has started a GoFundMe account to raise money needed to cover medical bills from Rebel’s surgery and other ailments. And once Rebel is healed, Harmon said he hopes the duo can use their bomb searching skills to help the community in some way.
“He has some tough nightmares sometimes,” Harmon told the news station. “We get to hold each other in the middle of the night.”
Rebel also has the love of his new family, which also includes Harmon’s wife, a 1-year-old daughter and a Labradoodle.
Rebel is one of many military dogs who impact the lives of their owners, handlers and those that they interact with. Read more about this special bond between humans and the dogs enlisted to protect them.