An American veteran who served in Afghanistan has finally reunited with the service dog that stood by his side in the combat zone. An estimated 3,000 dogs serve on active duty in the United States military.

The 78-pound German shepherd named Zenit worked with Marine Corporal Jose Armenta in Afghanistan. Doctors amputated both of Cpl. Armenta’s legs after an IED blast in 2011.

Their full story is featured in the June issue of National Geographic magazine. Today, both man and dog joined Shepard Smith Reporting to tell their story.

Cpl. Armenta recounted, “We were searching for explosives, IEDs, and we didn’t find one and that’s the one I stepped on.”

Zenit was about 20 feet in front of the Marine during the blast and right by his side while he was receiving medical attention. The dog was re-deployed with another handler in Afghanistan. Upon returning, Cpl. Armenta put in the necessary paperwork to request for Zenit to come home with him.

“Now he’s living the retired life – steaks and living on the couch,” Cpl. Armenta said of his pal.

As for Cpl. Armenta, he said he’s doing well. “I can’t complain. I got a loving family and I got my dog with me, so I’m happy.”

He and his wife also recently welcomed a son two months ago. Congrats to the whole family!


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