A marine calls his reunion with his former Labrador partner a miracle.
It has been a couple of years since Lance Corporal Andrew Harmon returned from his deployment in Afghanistan. There, he matched with an IED-detecting Labrador dog and worked with him side-by-side for seven months.
“I just prayed a lot for the dog. I was like, ‘God, I hope one day I get to see him again,'” Harmon said.
Harmon said his dog handling position was one he never expected when he enrolled in the Marine Corps, but it was his ticket overseas. On the day he went to be paired with a dog, a Labrador named Rebel, just like one he had at home, chose him.
The duo spent seven months in Afghanistan. It was Harmon’s first tour and Rebel’s second or third.
Harmon and Rebel spent every moment together, sleeping, eating and working in tandem.
“I’ve had numerous dogs before, but the bond wasn’t like this. You know, I can’t describe it,” Harmon said.
Harmon led Rebel in the search for IEDs. He said Rebel protected troops from several bombs.
After suffering a blow to the head from an explosion, Rebel experienced strokes and had to be sent home and retired. He found a new home with a woman in North Carolina, until fate led him back to Harmon.
A tumor on Rebel’s knee required surgery his owner couldn’t afford, so she called Harmon and reunited the loyal pair.
“It’s just indescribable,” Harmon said. “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 been able to raise $1,300 of the $1,600 needed to cover medical bills from Rebel’s surgery.
Harmon said the two help each other cope with post combat stress, and he hopes they can both use their bomb searching skills to help the community in the future.