Wounded Broken Arrow Soldier Reunited With His Best Friend
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Broken Arrow soldier is on the mend after being seriously injured in Afghanistan. Most of Staff Sergeant Shaun Elizondo's family is at his bedside at a Texas hospital, all except a faithful friend who's now just a state away from being reunited with his family.
It's been a long few days for Bentley the dog. He boarded a plane on Tuesday bound for Oklahoma. Now more than 4,000 miles and one stop later, he's where he's supposed to be.
"He's my son-in-law and daughter's dog from Alaska," Don Watson said.
Don Watson is thrilled to be picking up his 4-year-old grand dog.
"He's a great dog," Watson said. "He's a 95-pound lap dog."
But the reason for Bentley's arrival is less of a celebration. His owner, Staff Sergeant Shaun Elizondo, was seriously injured while serving in Afghanistan. The humvee Elizondo was riding in was hit by an IED. The outlook was grim.
"From what I understand, two of the six lost their lives and we're lucky the phone call wasn't worse for us," Watson said.
That was in early April. Since then, Elizondo has been recovering at an Army hospital in San Antonio. When his wife and son rushed to be by his side, they had to leave their faithful friend behind.
"Other army wives coming by in the morning and in the evening letting him out and feeding him," Watson said. "This has been going on for a while and he's getting a little stressed over it. Mom and dad are worrying about him."
The Elizondos don't have to worry a minute longer. American Airlines caught wind of their story and put into action a plan get Bentley back to his family.
"To bring Bentley home to meet up with his family is a small task compared to what Shaun has sacrificed for our country," said Troy Sokolowski with American Airlines.
For now, Broken Arrow is Bentley's home away from home.
"He won't be alone," Watson said. "He'll have family to be around, so hopefully he'll be happy."
Watson says he hopes to take Bentley down to San Antonio to visit his family soon. As for Elizondo, he is doing well in his recovery, but he will have to stay in Texas for several more months. Once he's better, he and his family will head back to Alaska, with Bentley.