NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Two friends, who bonded in Afghanistan, reunited today in Dallas. One is a 25-year-old United States Airman. The other is a six-month-old Afghan hound.
There were smiles, cheers and a lot of tail wagging. It has been a remarkable journey for both of them.
The best of friendships are often forged under the most difficult circumstances.
Tom Burright, an Airman Mechanic from Abilene was stationed in Afghanistan. One day, when he was out on a mission, he spotted a puppy scrounging for food in an alley.
"She was young and helpless. I had to pick her up. I fell in love and put her in the truck and took her home," he said.
Home was the barracks he shared with 15 other guys.
"We were fighting over names for a while. Finally, I decided Lyla was best," Burright said.
"It could be the worst day, a horrible day. We would come home and she'd be running around and licking everyone's faces, making everyone smile," he said.
Lyla and Tom were inseparable.
"She lived in my room with me. Slept in my bed. I brought her food from the chow hall. She ate everything I did," said Burright.
Then, it was time for Tom to return to his U-S home and family.
Lyla wouldn't be able to go with him unless he came up with four-thousand dollars for her transport and care.
"I really lost hope. I didn't think it was going to happen," he said.
But, he made a video of himself with Lyla and sent a request for help to the puppy rescue mission.
Michelle Smith, with the organization, said, "It just caught the heart of everybody."
"It's such an inspiration to see some of these guys take these animals under their wing and love on them and care enough not to want to leave them behind to die. Because that's what will happen. They'll die," she said.
Within six hours, The Puppy Rescue Mission helped raise the money to reunite the two friends at the Emirates Airline Office near DFW International Airport.
They hadn't seen each other in over a month. Lyla was bigger.
But it was obvious the two had never grown apart.
Lyla has only known the desert as her home. Tom said the first thing he's going to do when he returns back home with the puppy is to take her to a park.
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