Retired military working dog reunites with former handler after 2 years apart

The pair served together for three years in Hawaii.

After more than two years apart, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mike Alcala has finally reunited with John, a now-retired German shepherd military working dog with whom Alcala served for three years while stationed in Hawaii.

The pair reunited a few days before Christmas, when Alcala and his family welcomed John to their home in San Antonio, Texas. Alcala adopted John following the dog’s retirement after serving almost a decade as an explosives detection canine.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Mike Alcala and Military Working Dog served together for three years in Hawaii. Courtesy of SSgt. Mike Alcala

The pair first met in 2018 and quickly formed a bond, becoming certified as a team within two weeks of meeting. Alcala and John went on to serve in various security and law enforcement roles across the island of Oahu between 2018 and 2021. While working together, the duo protected high-profile VIPs like the U.S. vice president and first lady.

In 2021, Alcala was reassigned to a base in North Dakota. He tried to extend his service in Hawaii so he could stay with John but was unsuccessful. Before his departure, Alcala took John to his favorite place — the beach — and promised he would adopt him as soon as he could.

Two years later, John retired due to old age. Alcala subsequently reached out to American Humane, an organization that helps handle the process of adoption to reunite military dogs with their former handlers. The organization provided him with a handler, who traveled over 4,000 miles to bring John from Hawaii to his new home in Texas, where the dog was finally reunited with Alcala.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *