U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald credits Layka with saving his life on an overseas deployment in Afghanistan in 2012, according to Good Morning America.
McDonald says he was with a teammate and the dog when an enemy opened fire, hitting Layka 4 to 6 times, though the heroic dog continued to fight until the situation was under control.
Layka was rushed to surgery after the engagement, but doctors were forced to remove one of her front legs. After her recovery, McDonald decided to bring her home.
"I realized I had a responsibility to take care of her, just as she took care of me," McDonald said. "She saved our lives and I owed it to her to obviously save hers."
McDonald says Layka immediately fit right in with his family and befriended his young son Liam.
"I unhooked her and, from there on out, her and Liam were the best of friends. It was super cool to see," he said. "Just seeing that she could just transition so easy into the civilian world -- and I told myself, 'If she can do it, I can do it.'"