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Arizona Army veteran reunited with military dog

PHOENIX — Best friends come in all sizes, ages and breeds.

Army Spc. Joshua Tucker’s best friend is pretty furry. She’s a black English Labrador mix named Ellen. The two shared the hardest moments of their lives on the frontlines in Afghanistan.

Tucker, from Chandler, and Ellen served together abroad from 2010 to 2011. Tucker trained Ellen to become his Military Working Dog. While overseas, they searched for improvised explosive devices and performed other dangerous missions. In 2011, Spc. Tucker was injured and returned to the U.S. for treatment. The two were then separated.

“Every night he would tell me ‘I miss her,'” said Sherie Tucker, his wife.

The Tuckers petitioned for two years to the Army to reunite Ellen with Tucker as his service dog but to no avail. In September, they reached out to Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema for help to bring Ellen home.

“When we first got the call from Spc. Tucker and his wife, we were happy to help,” Sinema said.

Her office filed an appeal to the Army’s previous denials of the decision and, on Feb. 20, the Army granted permission for the Tuckers to adopt Ellen.

On March 29, Ellen came home.

“It was like she was real,” Tucker told WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C. “I felt more complete. I finally had that part that of my life that had been so important back.”