One month ago, Army Specialist Alec Alcoser and Alex, a German shepherd trained in bomb detection, nearly lost their lives following a terrorist attack near Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. But, despite their significant injuries, the pair pulled through, and both were recently awarded with the Purple Heart for their service. Now, following their sacrifice, Alcoser is working to make the reunion permanent by having Alex become part of his family.
Alcoser and Alex were walking near two Afghan soldiers and three Czech soldiers when they were approached by an Afghan youth. Without warning or time to react, Alex and Alcoser were soon caught in the middle of an explosive attack and the ensuing firefight. The Czech soldiers died instantly, shielding Alex and Alcoser from the brunt of the blast. Alcoser was hit with shrapnel and suffered broken bones in all four of his limbs, effectively immobilizing him during the battle. Alex also caught shrapnel from the blast, which resulted in the loss of left rear leg, but he refused to leave Alcoser’s side despite the chaos that was unfolding before them.
“I would yell at him, and his ears would twitch, but he wouldn’t look at me,” Alcoser said, recalling the attack. “I think he was in a state of shock. He didn’t growl, he didn’t bark, he didn’t cry. He stayed right there.”
The two underwent multiple treatments and surgeries and to treat their injuries, and both returned to the United States, although Alex and Alcoser remained separated until earlier this month when they were brought to Washington, D.C., for a Purple Heart ceremony recognizing their sacrifice and service.
Following the ceremony, the two met once again at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Alcoser could be seen brushing back tears while an overjoyed Alex licked at his face.
Unfortunately, Alcoser still has a long road to recovery, but he’s already exceeding the expectations of his doctors. “They’re estimating about four to six months [of rehabilitation], and so I’m already a month and almost half in, and I’m already walking, so I think I’m going to beat that time,” he said.
After Alcoser has recovered, he would like to return to his position within the military and continue his career. And, even though he is no longer performing his duties as a bomb detection dog, Alex also showed signs of wanting to return to work after attempting to inspect a parked car near the hospital where the two met up.
It is Alcoser’s hope that that he will eventually be able to provide a loving home and family for the now-retired Alex. With as much as they’ve gone through while working side by side, these two heroes definitely deserve to be together.