MAGNOLIA, Texas (FOX 26) - It's a reunion that's been 3 years in the making. After being reassigned, U.S. Sailor, Master-At-Arms Chief Petty Officer Fabian Salazar was separated from his K9, Max R128, who served with him in Afghanistan from March 2012 to January 2013.
"It's perfect timing. He saved my life and it's kind of like I'm saving his life and letting him retire just as a normal dog," says Chief Salazar.
"I mean for us we know our bond that we have with our pet. And I can't even imagine what a bond would be after you depend on them for your life and they depend on you for theirs overseas," says Kristen Maurer, President of Mission K9 Rescue. The mission of Mission K9 Rescue is to rescue, reunite, rehome, rehabilitate and repair any retired working dog who has served mankind in some compactly.
Chief Salazar and Max were an explosive detection team, paired together back in 2011. They were then reassigned and separated in October 2014.
Max officially retired in March 2017, but Chief Salazar was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba at that time, so Mission K9 Rescue flew Max from Washington to their rescue facility, Veteran K9 Rescue Ranch in Magnolia, Texas and took care of Max for the remainder of Salazar's assignment.
"They almost leave a piece of them behind with the dog and so when they are reunited you that come together and see them put back together. It's a beautiful sight," says Maurer.
Now back in the United States, reunited with his handler and family, this 9 year old Belgian Malinois who goes by the name Max has a permanent home.
"It's Fabian's dog. He's already adopted him. He adopted him from the military and all we did was facilitate the reunite," says Maurer.
"And now I get to take him home and return all the favors and all the love and just for giving me the opportunity to seeing my family again," says Chief Salazar.
To see the full story of how Chief Salazar says his life was spared by Max, Click Here.