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Separated by duty but united by bond, a pair of Marines and their K-9s are reunited for the first time in years

Marines reunite with K-9 partners
Marines reunite with their beloved service dogs 04:23

In a story of friendship and service, Marines Dalton Stone and Isaac Weissand have reunited with their K-9 partners after nearly two years apart. The two men met while serving in the K-9 unit in Okinawa, Japan, where they bonded deeply with their German Shepherds, Aida and Poker.

Stone and Weissand met in the Marine Corps in Okinawa and stayed friends through their service, marriages and the birth of Stone's first child. Their bond grew over their shared sense of duty and love for dogs.

"'Who wants to play with dogs' is what they said. And I love dogs," Weissand said. "I grew up with dogs. So I was like, 'I'm cool with that. I'll do it.'"

Stone was paired with Aida, a female German Shepherd drug-sniffing dog, known for her calm and cool personality. Weissand was matched with Poker, a high-energy male German Shepherd trained in bomb detection and protection.

They spent countless hours working and training together, forming deep connections.

When it was time to return to the United States, the dogs had to stay behind to continue their service. Stone even tried to start the adoption paperwork before leaving Japan just so she could leave on record that he wanted to keep Aida.

However, not even the Pacific Ocean could keep them apart.

With help from American Humane, a non-profit animal welfare group, the Marines navigated the extensive government paperwork to bring the dogs back to the U.S. once the K-9s retired from service.

Funded by donations, the dogs made their way from Okinawa to Tyler, Texas, via four plane rides and a car ride traveling through Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Diego and North Texas.

After more than two years of separation, Aida and Dalton and Poker and Isaac were finally reunited.

"It feels really good," said Stone, who is now retired from the Marines and living in Tyler.

Stone said he is looking forward to civilian life with Aida and his growing family.

"She was part of my life for two plus years, two and a half years almost ... it's very rewarding that she gets to come back and I get to help her relive the rest of her life," said Stone.

Weissand, still serving in San Antonio, is excited to let Poker enjoy a more relaxed life. "I'll just take him wherever I go and just let him, let him be a dog. That's all I care about right now is letting him be a dog," said Weissand.

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