Marine reunites with and adopts military dog he served with

National

CHICAGO (WFLA/CNN) – A heartwarming reunion between two military buddies was caught on camera this week at an airport in Chicago.

Marine Sergeant Jacob Varela reunited Tuesday with the trained German Shepherd tracking dog he served with in the military.

The pair had been apart for two years. But when Atilla spotted his old friend at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, it was clear the dog hadn’t forgotten.

“Come here, come here, come here! What’s up buddy? What is up!” Varela said as Atilla jumped up to greet him. “Oh, it’s so good to have you home.”

Sgt. Varela and K9 Atilla worked together for three years in a special operations unit. It started in 2014 when Varela says he brought Atilla in from Lackland as a combat tracker.

The two quickly formed a lasting bond. But Varela got out of the Marines in 2017 and hadn’t seen Atilla since.

“We were together for everything. Everywhere I went, he was with me. When we were out in the field, out there for a month, month and a half, whatever. I mean, he was with me,” Varela said. “If I was drinking water, he was drinking water, if I was eating, he was eating. He becomes like your teammate.”

Military dogs do demanding and training work. They eventually have to retire.

When Sgt. Varela found out 9-year-old Atilla could no longer work, he decided he wanted to adopt his old buddy. That’s when a group called Mission K9 Rescue stepped in.

“These dogs serve with these guys, they spend 24/7 training with them, putting their lives on the line together, so there’s a bond that we can’t understand,” Kristen Maurer with the rescue said.

When Atilla spotted Varela in the airport, it was clear the reunion was well worth the wait.

“The way he reacted, the way he jumped, he knows who I am,” Sgt. Varela said. “So that’s good.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Videos

Children's book author pens new book about Gasparilla

Thumbnail for the video titled "Children's book author pens new book about Gasparilla"

Gasparilla Safety

Thumbnail for the video titled "Gasparilla Safety"

Web Extra

Thumbnail for the video titled "Web Extra"

Gasparilla pirates invade local hospitals

Thumbnail for the video titled "Gasparilla pirates invade local hospitals"

Pirate ship themed cruise set to make maiden voyage on Gasparilla

Thumbnail for the video titled "Pirate ship themed cruise set to make maiden voyage on Gasparilla"

Storm team 8 Forecast: Cooler and drier today with a lot of sunshine

Thumbnail for the video titled "Storm team 8 Forecast: Cooler and drier today with a lot of sunshine"

Mayor Castor on handing over the key

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mayor Castor on handing over the key"

Searching for Mayor Castor

Thumbnail for the video titled "Searching for Mayor Castor"

Pirates arrive in Tampa

Thumbnail for the video titled "Pirates arrive in Tampa"

Gasparilla 2020: What to know before you go

Thumbnail for the video titled "Gasparilla 2020: What to know before you go"

Law enforcement runs tight ship to keep 2020 Gasparilla safe

Thumbnail for the video titled "Law enforcement runs tight ship to keep 2020 Gasparilla safe"
More Local News

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss