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THORNTON, Colo. — There was a sweet reunion Wednesday after a soldier was reunited with his war buddy, a bomb-sniffing dog named Donna.

The two were deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.

“She was excellent. You could unclip her from the leash and she could find something a mile away,” her handler, U.S. Army Specialist Tyler Roberts, said.

When they got home, Roberts planned to adopt Donna. The only problem was he could not find her.

Donna was part of the Tactical Explosive Detection Dog program. She and several other dogs were sent to a kennel in Virginia to await their next mission. The dogs ended up sitting in the kennel for 17 months.

A local organization, Mission K9 Rescue, stepped in to help rescue the abandoned war heroes and reunite them with their handlers.

“We can’t understand what they go through over there ever. And when they come back you can just tell they’re a little bit broken,” said Mission K9 Rescue’s Kristen Maurer. “And when they’re reunited with their dog I just see a piece of them get put back together.”

Donna and Roberts were reunited at a park in Thornton. Roberts has officially adopted her and has a new mission for her.

“Playing with tennis balls. She’s out of the game now. She’s living the house dog life now,” Roberts said.

The owner of Mount Hope Kennels in Richmond, Va., Greg Meredith, spent about $150,000 of his own money to take care of the hero dogs over the 17 months they were in his care.

Mission K9 Rescue is trying to raise money to help pay him back. It has set up a GoFundMe account to collect donations.