"I fell in love," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Burright.
But that's the kind of effect Lyla has on just about everyone.
"The meanest, biggest soldier would just melt," said the airman.
And this is why staff Burright just couldn't leave her behind when he found the puppy on the side of the road in an Afghan village.
"She's all happy and running around in circles, wagging her tail and jumping around," he said of their first encounter.
So, he picked her up and took her back to the barracks where she became the group's faithful companion for months.
"You know , the most horrible day we had, we'd all come home and she'd run around licking everyone's faces," said Burright.
Then the day came when the airman had to return home to Abilene.
"I was too attached," he said, "I couldn't leave her there, especially after all that time."
So, he made a video to ask staff at the Puppy Rescue Mission, who specialize in helping military personnel adopt Afghan pets, to help him raise the $4,000 needed to bring Lyla home.
He quickly received a response.
"They said, 'you know, we'll do what can do' to help me out," he said, "so I went to bed at 11 p.m., woke up at 6 a.m. and I had an email saying, 'pack her bags, she's coming home.'"
After four months of being in a small confined space, now she has plenty of ground to cover and new territory to explore.
"It's definitely all new to her," said Burright.
There's grass, flowers and noises Lyla's really not used to.
"She's definitely in shock and doesn't know what to think," said the airman.
So now the tables have turned.
"When she was over there, she cuddled me all day, you know, she always gave me a little piece of home," said Burright.
Now,thousands of miles away, it's his turn to provide Lyla with that same hospitality.
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