For four long years, not a day went by when United States Marine Corps Sergeant Deano Miller did not think about his best friend Thor.
Back in 2010, Sgt. Miller and Thor excelled at explosive detection training before heading off together to serve as a team in Afghanistan, where the pair was inseparable.
“For seven months straight, I didn’t go anywhere without him,” Sgt. Miller tells FOX News 13. “He was literally right next to me the whole time.”
In Afghanistan, Sgt. Miller and Thor developed a strong bond. Thor became the one constant during his time overseas, even snuggling up to the Marine Sergeant in his cot at the unit’s main headquarters every night.
“That dog was my everything,” Sgt. Miller says of Thor, “my everything, in Afghanistan. You do on patrols different times, you would eat different times. The one thing that never changed was him, he was there.”
“He was a great dog,” Sgt. Miller adds.
Luckily, Sgt. Miller and Thor had a fairly safe seven months of duty in Afghanistan, not stumbling upon any mines or explosive devices.
“It’s not the ones you find,” Miller tells the News Tribune. “It’s the ones you don’t miss.”
When Sgt. Miller’s tour of duty ended and he knew he was headed back home to Tacoma, Washington, he was faced with the heartbreaking task of saying goodbye to his canine comrade and friend, who would have to stay in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.
“When I had to put Thor in his kennel, it was the first and only time he refused to listen to me,” Sgt. Miller tells Seattle Refined, remembering that difficult day. “I felt like someone took a hammer to my heart; it was like I was abandoning my best friend and he couldn’t understand why.”
Not long after returning to the states, Sgt. Miller filled out an application to adopt Thor once the loyal Lab’s time of military service was through. Miller checked up on Thor as often as he could, hoping the day would come soon when they could be together again.
Finally, four years after saying goodbye, the happy day arrived. On May 22, Sgt. Miller waited anxiously as Thor’s plane touched down on the tarmac.
“If he even shows any sign that he knows me a little bit, I’m probably going to cry,” Miller admitted.
The happy homecoming took place at Sea-Tac Airport in front of an excited crowd of USO representatives, Seattle news crews, and plenty of Miller’s friends and family.
Sgt. Miller isn’t the only one back in Tacoma who is excited to welcome Thor home. Miller’s fiancée, Tomi Gallegos, tells Stars and Stripes she has heard a lot of wonderful things about Thor since she started dating Sgt. Miller three years ago.
“This is going to help him with everything he’s going through,” Gallegos says of her fiancée’s long-awaited reunion with his canine partner.
As Thor made his way down an escalator, the happy veteran dog wagged his tail at the first sight of his old buddy, Sgt. Miller. Miller says he looks forward to helping Thor settle in to his retirement.
“We’re probably going to go to PetSmart or something, just spoil him, go home and relax,” Miller explains.