Wounded soldier embarks on road to recovery with the dog who never left his side

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The bond between two soldiers goes beyond the call of duty. Army Spc. Alec Alcoser and his bomb sniffing dog, Alex, have spent three years together on countless missions, most recently on a tour in Afghanistan.

"We find IEDs, we find bombs, these dogs put themselves on the front line and make sure no one gets hurt behind them," Alcoser said.

It was on their last mission in August that their lives were changed forever. While on foot patrol, a suicide bomber attacked.

"He was limping towards me to lay down next to me," Alcoser said. "I saw there was a lot of blood, so I tried to stop the blood with combat gauze and I wrapped it up real quick."

The two were airlifted out of Afghanistan and seperated for weeks. For their service and sacrifice, Alcoser was awarded a Purple Heart, while Alex received the K-9 equivalent: the Purple Paw. The ultimate reward came weeks later when both soldiers were healthy enough to see each other.

"It was really emotional. I don't think I was ready to see him with three legs," Alcoser said.

Alex Alcoser and his dog Alex are both in recovery after they were injured in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. CBS News

CBS News was there when the two started their new mission: Joint physical therapy.

"I want to be next to my dog. I want to be able to walk him out. Go running with him. Do all the stuff that we used to do," Alcoser said.

The two love each other so much, Alcoser adopted his former battle buddy. Their last mission is to never walk alone.

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    Omar Villafranca is a CBS News correspondent based in Dallas.