Lynchburg, VA - We often hear about men and women coming home from war. Many have stories of bravery, and sacrifice. But here is a unique story of a Lynchburg veteran.
Josh and Kate Rowland formed a bond over five months while serving together in Afghanistan.
You might call it a love story, but not in the typical meaning. Josh returned to the states in August, leaving behind someone very special. Friday, he welcomed home his best friend - and his hero.
"We were together every day, this was my buddy while I was over there," said Josh.
Josh grew up in the Hill City, but it wasn't until he traveled to the sandy desserts of Afghanistan that he met his closest companion.
"We had no phones, computers, anything like that, I did have Kate," said Josh.
Living in dangers cross heirs, Josh knew, Kate was always by his side.
Kate Rowland is a 6-year-old Black Lab who was just retired from active duty in the United Sates Marine Corp. Her handler, Josh, credits Kate with saving countless lives.
"She was the reason that most of us have been able to stay alive," said Josh.
Kate's job was to sniff out explosives; explosives set to kill Americans.
"If a dog didn't find it, one of us could have found it ,they are willing to give their life each and every day," said Josh.
In August 2012, Josh's orders sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Kate's orders, left her in Afghanistan.
"Due to previous deployments, and the current one, she developed what I believe, PTSD," said Josh.
"I got home and I instantly started the process to see if I could get her back," said Josh.
Six months later, Josh came face to face, with a face, he'd never forgotten.
"Right away we had our bond back, I didn't say much, I just sat there and put my stuff down and reunited with the dog. She's finally home, she has done her time," said Josh.
Josh says Afghan militants began specifically targeting service dogs because they saw how many lives the dogs were saving.
In all, Kate served a total of 4 tours, saving countless lives.
During her service to her country she served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.