Nick Pierzchalski flew blackhawk helicopters in and out of war zones in Iraq for nearly a year. During that time, wounded soldiers counted on him to airlift them out of harm’s way. But there was one life he saved that was different from all the others -- A one-year-old dog named “Airys”.
She was running with a pack of feral dogs when she spotted the helicopter crew and befriended them immediately. Airys formed a strong bond with Nick, and he even built her a kennel inside the hangar so she could be near him.
However, his deployment came to an end in March, and he was forced to return to the United States -- Leaving Airys behind.
That’s where SPCA International and Operation Baghdad Pups came in. Since its foundation in 2008, Operation Baghdad Pups has expanded to multiple countries and has rescued over 640 animals and reunited them with members of the US military.
Nick and Airys were recently reunited on the tarmac at Tampa International Airport as Airys ran from her crate and into his big hug. Pierzchalski told FOX 13,“I can’t even put it into words, I really can’t. I didn’t think I was going to get her home. She remembers! I was nervous she wasn’t going to remember but she obviously does.”
Watch the video to see Nick and Airys reunite.