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Bomb-Sniffing Dog Reunites with Texan Family After Serving in Hawaii



Quick Smiles:

  • Air Force Staff Sgt. Mike Alcala and his bomb-sniffing German shepherd partner, John, reunited in Texas after three years of service together in Hawaii.
  • Having served in active duty for eight years, John, retired and joined Alcala’s family for his golden years.
  • Alcala, his wife Brittany, and their 10-month-old daughter Avery celebrated a touching reunion that marked John’s well-deserved retirement.

2021 presented a host of challenges, with one of them being a significant shift for Staff Sgt. Mike Alcala. He had to part ways with John, his bomb-sniffing German shepherd partner. They had been a powerful duo for three years at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

“It was tough,” Alcala confessed in an interview last December. “Imagine just walking out the door and just leaving them to someone else. It’s very sad, but you know they’re going to be in good hands.”

Despite their separation, Alcala made a promise. “I told them when I was leaving there, I said, ‘I am coming back for this dog,’” he shared.

A heartwarming event unfolded when John finally retired from active duty after eight years of diligent service. He was welcomed into Alcala’s Texas home, thus marking the start of his golden years.

Alcala and his family, including his wife Brittany and their 10-month-old daughter Avery, warmly included John in their household during the holiday season. “Oh look at you!” Alcala told John as he affectionately scratched his ears. “Welcome home buddy.”

Alcala and John share an unbreakable bond, owed to their time of service together. They patrolled the local community in Hawaii and traveled abroad with officials for explosive detection operations. Alcala expressed his deep trust in John, saying, “I trust him with everything I have, and with my life, for sure,” he said. “You have to, because these are our partners.”


Brittany also grew to trust John quickly, stating, “I instantly trusted John with his life.”

Upon discovering John’s retirement plans, Alcala sought Brittany’s approval to take in the military dog. Her only condition? “Gotta fix the backyard,” she jokingly mentioned.

John’s retirement was commemorated with a ceremony at the Hawaiian base, including a special reading of the poem “Guardians of the Night,” dedicated to military working dogs. The news of his retirement even sparked celebrations among fellow passengers on his journey from Hawaii to Texas.

Then came the joyous reunion with Alcala, who was overjoyed to have John back. “It’s amazing,” he exclaimed.

John’s final mission? Simply to be a beloved member of the Alcala family, a mission he’s joyously fulfilled with their reunion.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Eliot Schickler

    June 18, 2024 at 5:21 am

    This is a beautiful story! I hope John enjoys living with the Alcalas and has a nice retirement!

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