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Military dogs are considered service animals, not companions, however this distinction is difficult to maintain when service members are so far from home. Even if they are told not to get too attached, soldiers often become friends with their military service dogs.

Army Sgt. Jason Bos was one of a number of soliders who faced a tough time saying goodbye to his canine “battle buddy,” a chocolate Labrador named Cici.

Cici and Sgt. Bos spent nearly five years working together before Bos had to leave the Army in 2012 due to a back injury.

The pair formed an especially strong bond during their service in Iraq, where they worked together searching for roadside bombs and hidden weapons.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Bos spent much of his off-duty time visiting Cici at the military kennel and playing with her.

When Bos had to leave Cici behind, he never thought he would see her again. But that changed just a month ago, when he saw a notice on Facebook saying that she was due for retirement.

Bos quickly went into action mode, excited by the possibility of seeing Cici again. He contacted the kennel master at his former base to secure an adoption and called on the American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue to help him transfer her from Germany to the U.S.

On April 30, 2014, Bos drove from his home in Grand Rapids, Mich., to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to be reunited with his long-time companion, Cici. Hit “play” on the video here to watch their touching reunion.

Image Source: John J. Kim/The Chicago Tribune