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Arizona Army veteran reunited with military dog

Army Spc. Joshua Tucker and Ellen pose while serving in Afghanistan. (Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX -- Best friends come in all sizes, ages and breeds.

Army Spc. Joshua Tucker's best friend is pretty furry. She's a black English Labrador mix named Ellen. The two shared the hardest moments of their lives on the frontlines in Afghanistan.

Tucker, from Chandler, and Ellen served together abroad from 2010 to 2011. Tucker trained Ellen to become his Military Working Dog. While overseas, they searched for improvised explosive devices and performed other dangerous missions. In 2011, Spc. Tucker was injured and returned to the U.S. for treatment. The two were then separated.

"Every night he would tell me I miss her,'" said Sherie Tucker, his wife.

The Tuckers petitioned for two years to the Army to reunite Ellen with Tucker as his service dog but to no avail. In September, they reached out to Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema for help to bring Ellen home.

"When we first got the call from Spc. Tucker and his wife, we were happy to help," Sinema said.

Her office filed an appeal to the Army's previous denials of the decision and, on Feb. 20, the Army granted permission for the Tuckers to adopt Ellen.

On March 29, Ellen came home.

"It was like she was real," Tucker told WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C. "I felt more complete. I finally had that part that of my life that had been so important back."

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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