Soldier had to leave her beloved dog behind while on deployment and reunites on national TV
Being away from loved ones for an extended period of time is tough. Not just for humans, but for our canine companions, too.
Captain Jessamyn Jempson's dog Emma made this clear when the two had a special reunion on the "Queen Latifah Show" in 2013.
Jempson returned to her home in Washington on August 5, but she would not yet be able to see her companion right away. She flew out with her mom all the way to California to do that.
It had been over a year in total since the soldier left on deployment.
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Like many soldiers, Jempson was forced to search for a caretaker for her Rhodesian Ridgeback pet before she left for Afghanistan. She said she used Google to find a solution.
She discovered a nonprofit organization called "Dogs on Deployment." DOD was started by a dual-military couple, the Johnsons, who wanted to help service members and their pets.
Jempson used the service and connected with Silvia Washington from Spanaway. The dog lover and DOD volunteer clicked with Jempson and her dog.
Washington set up a Facebook page for Emma where she would post pictures and videos that Jempson could watch. Some of these were displayed on the show before the big moment arrived.
Queen Latifah finally asked Jempson:
"Should I stop doing this and get you to your dog or what?"
When Jempson gave a confident "Yes," out came Washington holding Emma. But it was a bit anticlimactic.
Emma didn't recognize her mother, who was dressed in a blue service uniform, amid the lights and the many faces around her.
"I had a feeling that was going to happen. She continued, "I saw her and I was just overwhelmed."
A second later, however, 4-year-old Emma was all over the human that had raised her from birth. She couldn't stop kissing the soldier whom she missed.
According to Military 1, Washington had five dogs of her own. Despite that, she seemed understandably saddened.
She would soon have to give up the loving brown animal she had been taking care of for a year. But Jempson made it clear that she was a hero:
"I think Silvia is the hero. She did all the hard work. Alisa and Shawn (Johnson) put the program together, I deployed but Silvia was the volunteer and that's what the program is all about."
Jempson and Emma spent seven months in preparation for Jempson's deployment. When it was time to go, the soldier was contented with her decision to use Washington as a foster parent.
The dog lover also advised Jempson to adopt a sister for Emma. So after her return, both dog owners visited Eastern Washington where they snatched up an adorable 11-week-old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy. They named her Vesper.
After the episode aired, DOD received over 200 responses according to co-founder Alisa Johnson.
Later on, in 2015, another soldier returned home. This time to an older dog that missed his owner after just three months.
It was the longest that Hannah Foraker had been away from home. Foraker was just 21 years old and was training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
When she returned for Christmas, her 13-year-old Golden Retriever again did not recognize her owner. But that changed soon.
Buddy the dog started "crying and whimpering." He eventually settled to rest her head on Foraker's lap as he continued wapping her tail in immense joy.