Dog Overjoyed to Be Reunited With Military Mom Who Rescued Her From Iraq

Playing Florida Soldier Hugs Dog Before Husband in Adorable Military Reunion

A U.S. soldier who rescued a dog from Iraq has reunited with her upon her return home.

Erby the dog bounded over to U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Tracy McKithern at Tampa International Airport after seven months apart.

"Do you remember me?" McKithern asks her in a video of the reunion. "I remember you!"

In footage shared by the airport, the dog jumps on McKithern and covers her with kisses before lying down for belly rubs.

McKithern first laid eyes on Erby in Iraq. She told WFTS the puppy looked abused and starving when it first sniffed around her base with its mom.

Soldiers at the base started to feed the two dogs and they slowly gained weight. They named the puppy Erby, after the the largest city in northern Iraq, Erbil.

Last year, ahead of the end of McKithern's deployment, she shared her desire to bring the puppy home, and friends jumped into action by sharing her message. Strangers and a non-profit organization, Puppy Rescue Mission, helped raise the money she needed to bring Erby home.

Erby flew to Tampa in March, but before they could be reunited, McKithern was sent on a two-month mission to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.

She finally landed back in Florida Wednesday.

McKithern said she was shocked to see how big Erby had gotten in the months they've been apart.

"I haven't seen her since Nov. 7," she said. "She was maybe a quarter of the size."

She now hopes Erby's mom will be able to travel to the U.S. too.

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