WHAT: A reunion that will warm even the coldest of hearts.
WHO: Army Specialist Alec Alcoser and Alex, the working dog who served alongside him.
WHY IT’S SO GREAT: Alec Alcoser, 22, and Alex, eight-and-a-half months, were tight during their time serving in Afghanistan, according to a profile in the San Antonio Express-News. Alcoser was the bomb-sniffing dog’s handler, and, by all accounts, best bud. The two slept in the same bed, played together on Alcoser’s days off, and started each mission with a dog treat for Alex and ice cream for Alcoser. (“It was kind of [a] thing to eat a sweet because you never know if that’s going to be your last when you go out,” Alcoser told the paper.)
Alcoser was one of the roughly 15,000 U.S. troops still serving in Afghanistan in early August, when a blast from a suicide bomber detonated on the street near Bagram Airfield, the largest American base in the country. Three Czech soldiers were killed. And Alcoser, who was six months into his deployment, was wounded along with two Afghan soldiers. But someone else serving alongside Alcoser was injured too: Alex.
After the blast, as a firefight ensued, Alex stayed by his handler’s side. Alcoser suffered multiple broken bones in both his arms and his legs, still has shrapnel in his body, and is being treated for a mild traumatic brain injury. Alex lost his left leg in the blast. They were both taken back to the U.S. and briefly reunited in D.C. for a Purple Heart ceremony in early September (both the man and the dog received the honor, awarded to soldiers wounded in the line of duty). And now it appears that the two should be reunited for good. Alex is in retirement, and as Alcoser continues his recovery—he’s walking on his own, ahead of schedule—he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to bring his furry partner home to his wife and six-month-old son once he’s out of rehab. It sounds like that would be a happy end to the story for both soldiers.