GERMANTOWN, MD (WUSA9) - Bunce is WUSA9’s 16-month-old service dog in training for a wounded warrior. On Wednesday, Bunce visited his namesake to see how their relationship has grown.
From the beginning, Bunce the puppy had a special bond with his namesake, Marine Cpl. Justin Bunce.
“I love him and you know damn well he loves me,” Marine Cpl. Justin Bunce said.
Cpl. Bunce was severely injured while serving our country in Iraq. Bunce was named in his honor.
"We love each other. That’s my boy. He’s a sweetie,” he said. “It’s an absolute honor. I just glow from the inside.”
Over the past few months, something extraordinary happened.
“I think it’s changed his life dramatically in many, many ways,” said Cpl. Bunce’s former Life Skills trainer, Katie Gorman.
Cpl. Bunce became stronger, more active and increasingly confident.
“I think when he sees Bunce, he sees an animal that brings laughter and joy and happiness, comfort,” she said. “And I think it’s a reminder to Justin that he also has those qualities.”
“He’s the whole package,” Cpl. Bunce said. “Smart. Sweet. Handsome. Beautiful inside and out.”
“Justin has been able to learn a lot from Bunce, as well as Bunce learning from Justin,” Gorman said. “They both have a heart to serve and it’s just an incredible honor for Justin.”
Two Bunces. Two lives, each made better by the other.
“He’s a doll baby. My boy,” Cpl. Bunce said.
It’s still to be determined where and with whom Bunce, the dog, will serve. But it’s clear that Cpl. Bunce will always be a part of his life.
If you’d like to learn more about nominating a veteran to have a service dog named after them, check out www.warriorcanineconnection.org for more information.