Reunited with the war dog that served by his side - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Reunited with the war dog that served by his side

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – It was a heart-warming moment Friday for one local Marine who was reunited with his military dog.

Sergeant Sam Wettstein was separated from his service dog Belle for four months. After the dog was retired, he petitioned to adopt her.

"After the bond is there you can't just throw it away," Wettstein said.

Wettstein wasn't about to give up on his puppy love. After serving a seven-month-long deployment in Afghanistan with his 3-year-old lab Belle.

Their bond was instant. The two, who had spent over a year together in training and in war, picked up right where they left off.

"The dog was on the plane and whenever the dog was coming out, she knew that her owner was here and she had to come running out. It was a beautiful reception," traveler Sheree Anshel said.

The yellow Lab specializes in locating and detecting improvised explosive devices.

"You have to pay full attention to your dog and what the dog is doing. That way your dog can give you subtle hints as to what is going on you can rally your guys, 'Hey man don't go that way,'" Wettstein explained.

Once their service is completed they are considered "civilians," which is why Wettstein has opted to keep her as his pet.

"We're so lucky. She's going to be an amazing addition. She's going to keep me running more than my other little dog," wife Jessica Wettstein said.

Belle drew quite a crowd at the airport, with complete strangers stopping to see the commotion.

"Some people say dogs don't smile, but this dog appears to be happy to be back with its owner," Kristen Maurer of Mission K9 Rescue said.

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