The connection between a (wo)man and his dog is a precious thing and not something that can be broken easily, and especially not by distance. This theory was put to the test when Afghanistan war veteran Joshua Baines was reunited with his dogs after being temporarily separated by several thousand miles.
Joshua suffers from PTSD and was forced to move across country, from Louisiana to California, as a result of his condition. There were nights, according to the Air Force war vet, when he would sleep in his closet because it was the only place he felt safe. After 7 months of trying to get himself together, he decided that a fresh start in California was what he needed. However, at the time, he couldn’t take his dogs Panda and Momma with him.
For Joshua, his pups are more than just companions–they are the very creatures who help him to feel connected to this world. Joshua explained that when he returned home from war, he just felt so alone and isolated. “Just going from a war zone to civilian life—you feel totally isolated, totally alone. You feel cut off from everything. My dogs were the only ‘people’ that were there for me.” So when he had to leave them behind when he moved, he was devastated. “Everyday I wake up without [my dogs] snuggled up underneath me is a strange day. Every day I don’t have to walk a dog is a wrong day,” he shares. Hi”They’re my dogs, they’re my pack, they’re my family!” In essence, they are his lifeline. So being separated from them was possibly the worst thing that could have happened.
Joshua was separated from his pups for a two full months before Mariah Harmony of Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls and Parollees brought the dogs all the way from LA to CA. According to her, the dogs were just as devastated by the separation as their owner, refusing to eat much the entire time they were in her care. She hoped, not only for Joshua’s sake but also for Panda and Momma’s sakes, that the reunion was a happy one. She needed have worried.
As soon as Panda and Momma spotted Joshua in the parking lot, their tails started wagging like crazy. The reunion is one that will move you to tears, just like it moved Mariah–who is accustomed to seeing these types of reunions–to tears.
“I was a little nervous they weren’t going to remember me,” admits a teary-eyed Joshua. “I’m sure anyone who’s ever been away from their dogs is terrified of that.”
But it is clear, as Momma and Panda jump all over their long-lost owner and give him hugs and kisses, that forgetting him is something that could never happen.
“I was definitely a little more emotional than I though I was going to be,” says Mariah, who is in awe of the transformation she sees in the pups. “I have not seen them like this AT ALL!” she exclaims.
Mariah hits the nail on the head with the following statement: “You can’t break that bond someone has with their dog. And it’s only between them–it’s like a mother and her child. You can’t break that bond.”
And it’s so very true. If you’ve ever questioned the strength of the bond between a dog and his owner–or if you’ve always believed it existed but never had the evidence to prove it–here’s your proof. Before you watch this heartwarming video, be warned: it will move you to tears!
And if you were worried, Momma and Panda finally ate some food!
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Source: Animal Planet