Military K9 reunited at RDU with former handler--this time for good

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022
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Monday at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, 1st Lt. Johnny Baker was reunited with his former K9 partner, Velma, and took her home for good.

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A retired military working dog is at her new home with her former Air Force handler.

Monday morning at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, 1st Lt. Johnny Baker was reunited with his former K9 partner, Velma.

The Seymour Johnson airman spent three and a half years working with Velma.

During that time, the pair went on more than a dozen Secret Service missions to support former Presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush as well as many other assignments.

In 2020, the pair were separated and had not seen each other since.

That drought ended Monday when Velma, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, arrived on a Southwest Airlines flight from Shreveport, Louisiana.

"I knew that the day I got her wanted to keep her if I could once that time came," Baker said. "We are kind of putting our lives in the dog's hands and vice versa. It's just a different kind of bond that's created than with a normal pet.

"I was definitely nervous," Baker added. "It's been a long time coming. Just all those nerves come up and finally get to take her home I'm super excited."

Earlier this month, Mission K9 Rescue obtained Velma after her retirement and was able to facilitate the reunion.

"It is important to honor and protect all of our military heroes; both two and four-footed," said Kristen Maurer, president of Mission K9 Rescue. "Military working dogs have been a vital, life-saving part of our armed services, and they deserve our support when they can no longer work.

"We're honored to have been able to make this journey in order for 1st Lt. Johnny Baker and Velma to be reunited," Maurer added.

Baker has two young children and he said they're excited about getting their first dog.