Airman reunited with dog after deployment

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- An airman who's been away from home for more than a year finally came home to his best friend on Christmas Eve.

Project Active Duty, an Arizona Humane Society partnership program, allows deployed military personnel to send their animal companions to foster homes until they get back.

There is certainly truth to man's best friend. Butters, a 5-year-old pit bull, hasn't seen his masters in more than a year but you'd never know it. U.S. Air Force Sgt. Stephen Goodrum has been stationed in South Korea. His wife Marteen was also deployed.

The three were reunited on Christmas Eve.

Goodrum recalled what went through his mind when he received the orders.

"I probably would have had to give him away or sell him or worry about him being in a good home," he said.

Those fears were quelled when he learned of Project Active Duty and that many of the foster parents are retired military members.

"They know firsthand that when you get deployed, there are so many things on your mind that what happens to your pet should not be one of those things," said Bretta Nelson with the Arizona Humane Society.

Goodrum admits he was still nervous his buddy Butters wouldn't remember him or all the tricks he taught him when he returned, but Goodrum was pleasantly surprised when Butters performed everything perfectly.

"It's pretty cool, definitely pretty cool he didn't forget anything," Goodrum said.

He also said he couldn't be more grateful for the Foster Hero Program and the Arizona Humane Society.

The Goodrums along with Butters are off to their next adventure. They'll soon be moving to New Mexico to start a life there, hopeful they don't get deployed again anytime soon.

For more information on AHS’ Project Active Duty program, visit www.azhumane.org/activeduty.