Houston Veteran Reunites With His Military Dog After 3 Long Years


Seeing a German Shepherd dog being affectionate with his owner isn’t exactly news, but seeing one remembering his long-lost buddy is just amazing!  

This is the story of Atilla, the ex-military canine who retired in 2020 at nine years of age. After serving three years with his military buddy, Jacob Varela, the dog and his handler parted ways.

Jacob retired from the army in 2017, which meant the end of companionship with his buddy, Atilla. However, he never stopped thinking about reuniting with his buddy, so he waited until Atilla’s mission was over.

“We were together for three years, and then I got out and haven’t seen him since.”

Jacob And Atilla Served Together For Three Years

pretty black dog
Photo from: youtube.com

“The two formed a lasting bond.”

Jacob and Atilla served together in the Special Operations Unit for three years. During this period of time, they were inseparable. 

“Everywhere I went, he was with me. If I was drinking water, he was drinking water. I was eating, he was eating. He becomes like your teammate.”

There is a saying that goes: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” This best describes the relationship between the two, as Jacob and Atilla have been together through thick and thin.

Despite severe conditions, they stuck together and never let go. This is what made their relationship even stronger. And, even more memorable for both.

Atilla Was A Special Operations Unit Canine

black dog laying outdoor
Photo from: youtube.com

Sure, we are familiar with the fact that GSDs are capable of performing some amazing work. They serve as search and rescue, law enforcement, and military dogs, but Atilla went a step further.

He stood out from the group and became a Special Operations Unit dog. Aside from protection, he was involved in tracking, explosive detection, and patrolling. This draining work required special preparation and exquisite physical shape, which was Attila’s specialty.

He, indeed, was a good serving boy. Courage, eagerness to protect his handler, and deep devotion to the mission were the traits of this K9 marine. But, everything comes to an end.

Atilla Retired In 2020

When Jacob left service, Attila stuck around for three more years. He was only six back in 2017, which meant that he still had a long way to go. 

Even though he had a tough time getting used to military life without his loving buddy, Jacob, Attila never showed disobedience or bad work. Quite the contrary – the canine gave all, and deserved his retirement fairly.

He finally retired in 2020 at the age of nine, which was a good age to start a low-key, slower life. In comparison to his other counterparts, Attila stuck around for more than expected, as military GSDs generally retire at the age of six.

But, despite his devotion and eagerness to serve, he needed some well-deserved time off. After all, Attila was entering his senior years.

The Everlasting Bond

dog reunited with owner
Photo from: youtube.com

As soon as he received the information that Attila was retiring, Jacob reacted immediately.

He contacted Mission K9 Rescue from Houston, Texas, the non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, re-homing, rehabilitating and reuniting retired military working dogs with their handlers.

Kristen Maurer, the president and the founder of Mission K9 Rescue, received the inquiry from Jacob, and she was more than happy to help the military duo reunite. 

“These dogs serve with these guys, they spend 24/7 training with them, putting their lives on the line together and so there is a bond we can’t understand.” Kristen Maurer, the president and the founder of Mission K9 Rescue

Jacob flew all the way from Houston to Chicago to meet his long-lost buddy and Kristen made sure to welcome him with Atilla at the airport.

When they finally saw each other, Attila immediately ran to him and gave him a warm welcome. He didn’t hesitate for a second there, showing that he still remembered his marine buddy pretty well!

“The way he reacted, the way he jumped on me like that he knows who I am!”

From that day on, Jacob and Attila became inseparable again, spending their well-deserved military retirement together in Houston. According to CBS 42, Jacob’s working on earning his college degree, while Atilla’s relaxing in his new home.

Their heart-melting story was yet further evidence that dogs never forget those they truly love.

Take a look at the full reunitement video here!