Working at the airport, it’s easy to get caught up in one’s daily responsibilities and forget that an airport can be a public place filled with a broad spectrum of emotions. I catch glimpses of what might be described as very personal moments…tearful goodbyes and joyful hellos.
On August 1, I was fortunate enough to witness one such event. It was the most amazing reunion…and not the typical reunion you might envision. This reunion involved a man and his dog. Not just any man, mind you, but U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Sam Wettstein and his precious yellow lab Belle, a retired Contract Working Dog. Working together during a seven-month deployment in Afghanistan last year, the duo specialized in locating and detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Upon learning of Belle’s impending retirement, Sgt. Wettstein worked with the American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue to officially adopt Belle, providing her with a loving, forever home after serving her country, and that day was her homecoming.
As Sgt. Wettstein waited eagerly for Belle’s arrival on Southwest Airlines, he told a few of those gathered around about the harness he held in his hand, and how the paw print on that harness was crafted from his uniform. His eyes lit up as he spoke of Belle, and it was easy to see they enjoyed a special bond.
When Belle rounded the corner and heard Sgt. Wettstein’s voice, her tail wagged, the crowd smiled and laughed, and some cried with the overflow of emotion. It was one of those experiences that you treasure in life, and I felt uplifted having had the chance to experience it.
Thank you, Sgt. Wettstein, for sharing this moment with us, and thank you to you and Belle, for serving our country.
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