MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Only a handful of military special forces dogs get to come home. Most are killed in the line of duty.
NewsWest 9 got the opportunity to meet a four-legged Navy SEAL that found her home in Midland. Her name is Bella.
She fought with the same team of Navy SEAL's for three years. During that time, not one member of that team was killed or hurt, with the exception of Bella. She is one of a handful of military special forces dogs that got to come home.
"I only know Bella as the only special forces dog that ever came home," said her owner, Diane Tangen.
Bella was born and raised a military dog and went straight to war when she was ready. Her protective instincts and failure to make a mistake is what kept her beside the same group of Navy SEAL's for three years.
"She'd crawl in, squeeze into a tank. She loved to get in airplanes, jumped out of airplanes, propelled out of helicopters," said Tangen.
Most of her missions were done at night. She'd tackle enemies holding machine guns, hunt Somali pirates and aided her team in a takedown of one of the biggest Al-Qaeda training camps.
"It was like a serpentine, because everybody goes where everybody else walked because there wasn't a bomb there, and Bella just took them straight up and the guys were all sleeping. They said it was the easiest takeover ever," said Tangen.
In the third year of her service, Bella was hit twice by a sniper.
"The Navy SEAL points to one of those marks and said, 'That would have been my head, and that would have been the guy behind me,'" said Tangen.
As you can imagine, Bella misses being with her guys detecting bombs and capturing terrorists. She still has shrapnel on parts of her body.
Like she did in combat, when Bella's out and about with her family, she still remains a good distance in front of them in case trouble lies ahead.
"In one sense, her team, she mothered them. In another way, she was part of the brotherhood. 'I'm a sailor too. I'm a Navy SEAL. I fight with you. I fight alongside you,'" said Tangen.