When it comes to war tactics, one useful way to detect bombs and mines is to have a trained K-9 dog that can smell a bomb from several meters away. During the war in Afghanistan, many lives were saved thanks to dogs that found dangerous weapons before soldiers could accidentally step on them.
After serving in the Army, these dogs are retired and put up for adoption. The priority for adoption is always the soldiers they have worked with. But that’s not always the case. The difficulty is that there are times when it is necessary to spend thousands of dollars, especially if the military lives in a different state than the retired fighting dog.
Fortunately, there is one woman who has made it her life’s mission to reunite retired military dogs with the soldiers they have worked with.
Molly Oliver is a flight attendant from California who has worked for United Airlines for more than 40 years. Although she is a flight attendant, her true passion is helping military dogs find their way back to the military men and women around whom they worked and grew up.
Trips to places where soldiers live with their dogs don’t come cheap, but Molly does it all at her own expense.
“I love dogs and I love my military, who have taken care of my freedom all my life. So it’s a win-win.”
In fact, she did it several times. And the fourth time, she took a military dog named Taylor with her.
The dog, affectionately called “Tay-Tay” or “Princess Taylor,” served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. She saved many soldiers by sniffing out bombs and mines. She was so good at her job that the Taliban even put a bounty on her head.
Molly learned about Taylor and realized that the dog deserved to be with her friend. Immediately Molly booked a first-class ticket to Boise, where she accompanied Taylor as they flew to meet Sergeant Tom Hanson, Taylor’s previous handler.
Sergeant Hanson was anxious and excited, waiting for Taylor at the airport.
Finally, Molly and Taylor’s plane landed, and the two of them set off to meet the military man. As soon as Taylor turned the corner and saw Sergeant Hanson, the dog excitedly wagged its tail and ran toward the waiting soldier. They hadn’t seen each other in two years.
They may have been far apart after serving together in Afghanistan, but when Taylor saw him, she knew exactly who he was and ran to meet him. It was a very sweet reunion that left the soldier in tears of happiness.
“It’s like a part of me is gone, and by getting it back now, I’ll be whole again,” Sgt. Hanson shared with NBC News.
None of this would be possible without Molly and her kind heart. It is truly inspiring to know that people like her make the world a better place.