RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It was an emotional reunion Monday morning at the Raleigh Durham International Airport.

A United States airman reunited with his military dog after two years apart and is finally bringing her home.

Baggage claim was full of tears and tail wags as Lt. Johnny Baker reunited with his former military K9, VVelma X160.

The two hadn’t seen each other since 2020 when Baker commissioned and was sent to officer training school out of state.

“The bond that we create with these dogs…you know, I never wanted to leave in the first place,” Baker said. “So I knew from the day I got her I wanted to keep her if I could.”

8-year-old VVelma is now retired.

When Baker heard the news, he reached out to the nonprofit organization Mission K9 Rescue.

They picked her up from Barksdale Air Force Base, an Air Force kennel in Louisiana, and took her to Houston, Texas where they are based. They then flew her to RDU.

“It was a long time coming so I’m super happy, super grateful,” Baker said.

Before her retirement, VVelma was a patrol and explosive detection dog.

She and Baker worked together for three-and-a-half years.

“I was with her, honestly, sometimes more than I was with my wife for a good chunk of our time,” Baker said.

Kristen Maurer, the president of Mission K9 Rescue, flew VVelma home to Baker.

She says three-and-a-half years is a long time to be with one dog.

“The second we came around the corner, Johnny was way off and she knew he was there,” she said. “She pretty much dragged me to him. She knew he was there.”

Maurer said the organization has reunited more than 600 dogs with their handlers.

“Sometimes they remember right away, but they don’t ever remember from down the hall,” she said. “I think I’ve had one other do that.”

Baker’s wife and kids joined in on the reunion, saying they’re excited to bring her home.

Baker said he plans to lay on the couch with VVelma and give her the retirement life she deserves.