Marine and his loyal Afghanistan partner reunite

After being separated for three years, Sgt. Robert Hulsey and Joe the Labrador are together once again. (NBC/KXAS)

DALLAS (NBC/KXAS) — A U.S. Marine is reunited Tuesday with his loyal partner, who never left his side while in Afghanistan. After being separated for three years, Sgt. Robert Hulsey and Joe the Labrador are together once again. Hulsey and his wife, Rachel, have waited a long time for this moment.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Hulsey. “I’m ready to get it over with.”

“Every story he’s told me has been heart-touching,” said Rachel.

Hulsey served six years in the Marines with countless comrades, perhaps none more loyal than the one about to arrive.

“We basically slept together, worked together, patrolled twice a day every day in the middle of summer in southern Afghanistan,” said Hulsey.

Joe is trained to sniff out explosives. And on Tuesday, he came walking down the stairs at Love Field for the emotional reunion.

“I fell in love with him when I first started working with him in 2010,” said Hulsey. “He worked great, had a great disposition. Everybody loved him.”

In an instant, the bond these two servicemen forged on the battlefield was renewed. This time, it was forever. Two American heroes who served their country well are now together again — and safe at home in North Texas.

“I just want to take him home and let him live out the rest of his life relaxing and getting spoiled,” said Hulsey.

The reunion is the work of the American Humane Association and Mission Canine Rescue. These two groups work to bring military dogs back to the U.S. and reconnect them with their handlers.

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