1. This is Private Hannah Foraker from Cleveland, Ohio. The 21-year-old went off to basic training in Oklahoma in September, before transferring to Houston upon her graduation in November.
2. “I’ve never been away from home before,” Foraker told BuzzFeed News. “I’ve lived a very sheltered life. To have to leave to go to another state alone in a stressful environment like basic training was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
3. Her time was made harder because she was separated from her beloved animals, including her horse, Derby, and her 13-year-old golden retriever, Buddy.
4. “She’s very old and has arthritis and is mostly deaf,” Foraker said, “but I still remember getting her as a puppy.”
5. So, when Foraker returned home for two weeks over the holidays, the reunion between her and Buddy was incredibly emotional.
6. “We opened the front door and she came running out and greeted me and my family, but then kind of did a double take and came back to me,” Foraker said.
7. “She was completely overwhelmed and she couldn’t even stand up,” Foraker said.
8. The Army private said Buddy’s happiness resulted in a new sense of energy for the old dog.
“My parents were so astonished by how happy she was during my time at home,” she said. “She normally has trouble going up and down the stairs and takes shorter walks, but now that I was home she was so happy and active. She would get up and do her happy dance.”