U.S. Army sergeant reunites with her dog in Phoenix

Imagine being away from your dog for one year. That's a tough situation to be in for dog parents, and that's what U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Sabrina Ruckes had to endure.

"I was assigned to 5th brigade out of Phoenix battalion, recruiting battalion, so I worked out of Mesa station, and so I end up coming on a permanent change of station orders to South Korea," said Sgt. Ruckes.

Sgt. Ruckes was in a pinch looking for care for her 5-year-old Maltipoo, Puma.

"I had a tight window, and a program that I found out about, the foster lady, her spouse ended up having a job opportunity, so she couldn't watch him," said Sgt. Ruckes.

After her first option went south, Sgt. Ruckes had to find another one. That was when PetSmart told her about Project Active Duty through the Arizona Humane Society, which cares for service members' pets while they are deployed.

"I was nervous at first, but I was comfortable because the Humane Society and their staff make everything such a smooth transaction. I left him in good hands," said Sgt. Ruckes.

To reassure Sgt. Ruckes that Puma was in good hands, the foster parents were in constant contact.

A year after the deployment, Sgt. Ruckes is reunited with Puma, in a moment that Sgt. Ruckes holds close to her heart.

"Puma actually knew who I was," Sgt. Ruckes recounted. "I was afraid for that because I had on a hat, and I was trying to, like, speak how I used to speak to him, like ‘Hey Puma. Baby. Hey hey hey,’ and I was like, alright, my boy understands who I am."

The Arizona Humane Society's Project Active Duty program is free for members of the military, for the length of their deployment.