Some relationships are so strong that neither distance nor time can break them.

This is one of them.

A marine and a retired K9 service dog have demonstrated that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The emotional reunion of man and beast was seen by the folks at Midway Airport.

They were pretty attached after three years of working together, looking out for each other, and taking care of each other.

Their reunion video is heartwarming.

Atilla R7-89, a U.S. Marine Corps canine, arrives at the airport to see a very special person – Sgt. Jacob Varela, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret. ), his old partner.

Sgt. Varela told CBS News:

“I was stuck with him in 2014; I got him from Lackland; he was a combat tracker.” And we had been together for three years. I walked away and haven’t seen him since.”

Varela and Atilla built a lasting friendship, just like any other dog owner, but theirs was forged out of peril and a sense of duty.

During their service, they were inseparable.

He told CBS about their dynamic:

“We did everything together. He was with me everywhere I went. He was with me when we were out in the field for a month, month,

“Come here!” said a high-pitched voice. “Come here!” yelled the retired marine as he sprinted towards his best pal, arms widespread.

Atilla runs to his previous handler, tail waving and excited tippy-tapping, finally having someone to call family and a place to call home.

Varela was relieved with the reunion, telling CBS:

“The way he reacted, the way he jumped, he knows who I am, so that’s good.”

See Varela’s heartwarming reunion with Atilla in the video below!

and a half, whatever. If I was drinking, he was drinking, and if I was eating, he was eating. He becomes like a teammate to you.”

But their responsibilities would eventually separate them. They never saw each other again after 2017.

After all, they’re both just following orders, no matter where those orders take them.

When Sgt. Varela learned of Atilla’s retirement, he seized the opportunity to be reunited with his best friend.

The retired marine worked with Mission K-9 Rescue to obtain his best friend to live with him permanently.