Shock and awwwww: Military members' emotional reunions with their dogs

May 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM ET

When members of the U.S. military return home after being deployed overseas, being greeted by man's best friend is often just as emotional as hugging their human friends.

Many military members have close bonds with their dogs, and seeing them for the first time in months can trigger the tears of knowing they have been missed. Sometimes the feeling of being back home doesn't set in until a soldier gets a slobbering kiss or a friendly nuzzle.

On this Memorial Day weekend, here's a reminder of how much canine friends can mean to those who proudly serve our country.

Mom's home! An Air Force captain has an emotional reunion with her dog after coming back from Afghanistan in 2011.

This soldier's dog, Ann, can barely contain herself in seeing her military owner and lets the whole neighborhood know it.

A soldier's dog is so excited to see his owner again that he stands up to soldier's full height to give him a canine hug.

"I missed you so bad. I'm so sorry I went away." A military member and his dog, Gracie, share a great moment upon his return.

A German Shepherd goes to retrieve his ball and when he returns it, guess who's back home?

Chuck the boxer has been through the separation with his military owner a couple times, so he doesn't even wait for the door of the car to open before he bounds to his best friend in delight.

And finally, here's a whole montage of soldier-pet reunions with one emotional moment after another.

Even when a member of the military has given the ultimate sacrifice for his or her country, their dogs remain by their side until the end.

Hawkeye, the dog of Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011, lies next to his casket in mourning during his funeral service.