NEW YORK CITY — Army veteran Julio Muñoz was finally reunited with his working dog, Ben, three years after their Afghanistan tour was over. Muñoz had always planned to adopt Ben after deployment however two Pentagon employees secretly offloaded military dogs to civilians.
Ben was one of those dogs.
Ben came into the care of Kim Scarborough, 52, who discovered Muñoz’s name on his deployment papers. She knew she had to contact the veteran immediately.
“If the handler wants Ben, it belongs to him. Period, the end,” Scarborough told the NY Post.
Although Muñoz was ecstatic to have the chance to see Ben again, he was reluctant to say that he wanted to take him home. He didn’t want to take him away from a place where he was happy.
“I wouldn’t want to ruin that for him” Muñoz said. “He’s already been through so much,” Munoz told the NY Post.
As with many veterans, the experiences for Ben and Muñoz in Afghanistan where difficult and Muñoz doesn’t spend a lot of time discussing what happened.
“I don’t like to talk too much about what happened overseas,” Muñoz said. “But we made contact with some bad guys, and I had to tie Ben back for his own safety. I went back to the hole to start shooting, and Ben chewed through his leash and laid right down next to me.”
Last Saturday, Scarborough and Muñoz decided to meet so that Ben could be reunited with his dog. Within no time, it was clear that Ben was happier than ever when he saw Muñoz.
Scarborough watched as Muñoz and his two children played with Ben. She knew that Ben and Munoz belonged together. Although Ben seemed to be happy living with her, she told Muñoz to take him home.
“I didn’t go to war with him,” Scarborough said. “It’s different.”
Nothing stands in the way of the bond between a military dog and his handler.