For his entire tour of Afghanistan and before, 'Spike' the black lab was Marine Jared Heine's brother, his bud and his savior.
While deployed to Helmand Province, Spike sniffed out bombs and kept Jared and his buddies safe. Heine told CBS News the relationship was close:
“He did a great job at it. He was like my brother, my kid. He slept with me every day like we were inseparable.”
But, Heine got hurt — receiving traumatic brain injuries, for which he received a Purple Heart —and was sent home.
Fast forward three years.
As Jared fought back from his injuries, his mom, Mary, noticed he was depressed and talked of how he missed Spike and wanted to see his buddy again. She vowed to try and make it happen, telling CBS News:
“It just hit me - if I could find Spike, it would make a huge difference in his life.”
Mary Heine put out a plea on the Military Working Dogs Facebook page, asking if anyone knew what became of Jared's 'Battle Buddy.'
It turns out Spike had been re-purposed as a K9 for the Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., becoming the buddy and brother of the department's first female K9 officer, Officer Laura Taylor. They'd been a team for three years.
A meeting was arranged and when the three got together, there was no doubt Spike remembered his old buddy.
Officer Taylor knew what she must do.
And so, in an act of selflessness, Laura gave Spike back to Jared.
But, that's not the end of the story. Officer Taylor recently got some good news of her own: She's also in line for a new K9 partner.