Wounded soldier, injured military dog awarded purple hearts, reunited in Texas

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SAN ANTONIO — A wounded Army specialist and his working dog were reunited in Texas last week after they were each awarded a Purple Heart for their heroism.

Spc. Alec Alcoser, 22, and Alex, an 8-year-old German shepherd, were back together after both were badly injured in a suicide bombing on Aug. 5 in Afghanistan, The San Antonio Express-News reports.

“I would yell at him and his ears would twitch, but he wouldn’t look at me,” said Alcoser. “I think he was in a state of shock. He didn’t growl, he didn’t bark, he didn’t cry. He stayed right there.”

The blast left Alcoser with several broken bones and took shrapnel to 30 percent of his body. He also had a mild traumatic brain injury.

His canine companion also lost his left rear leg.

The pair went pretty much everywhere together during their deployment. And on his days off, they would even sleep in the same bed and enjoy time together.

The emotional reunion was the first time the two had seen each other since they were both in Washington D.C. to receive the Purple Heart. If all goes well at rehab, the two plan to be buddies for a long time.

“They’re estimating about four to six months, and so I’m already a month and almost half in, and I’m already walking, so I think I’m going to beat that time,” he said.

“Either way, the doctors say I have a pretty good chance of making a full recovery, and that’s all that matters. I’ve got to get back to my dog. That’s the important part.”

Alcoser said the two even had rituals on days they had to work during their deployment.

“On a day with a mission, we’d wake up, I would give him a doggie treat and I would have some ice cream before we went out, and when we got back, we usually slept,” Alcoser said.

“That was a normal day for me and Alex out there,” he said, adding that a taste for sweets was born of his association with troops in special operations forces. “It was kind of their thing to eat a sweet because you never know if that’s going to be your last when you go out.”

Alcoser is hoping to return to work as a solider and is taking his work day by day.

“I don’t have any frustrations, I just take it day by day, that’s all I can do. There’s no point in being mad or sad or anything like that. I’ve got to live through the people who died for me, so they give me a lot of strength,” he said.

“And Alex ain’t complaining, so I don’t think I should, either. His injuries are a little worse than mine,” Alcoser said. “A lot of people call him a dog, but I think he’s a little more than that. He’s a soldier.”

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