Boy, 5, sends stuffed dinosaur to soldier’s father in Iraq, melts hearts: ‘I’m crying’

A little boy’s beloved plush dinosaur was used to keep his father company on tour in Iraq.

And in return, the US Army sergeant documented the animal’s embedded “adventures” abroad.

To “protect his father from 6,000 miles away,” 5-year-old Waylon Holmes mailed his father David the bright green stuffed animal around the world, a possession that was hard to part with considering Dino hasn’t left Waylon’s side since birth.

“Waylon sleeps with Dino every night, but he wanted to send it to his father while he was stationed in Iraq,” Waylon’s mother, Taylor, told Kennedy News and Media. “He said it would help him stay safe and travel home safely.”

David, a 33-year-old first class sergeant, had been in Iraq for almost a year when he was surprised in the mail by Waylon’s beloved Dino, along with a letter asking for photographic evidence of Dino’s travels.

Waylon hugs Dino
Although Waylon was attached to his beloved Dino, he sent the stuffed animal to his father in the mail as a surprise.
Kennedy News and Media

Dinosaur in the box
“He said it would help him be safe and travel home safely,” Taylor said of Waylon and his father.
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David Holmes
David received the dinosaur two weeks later.
Kennedy News and Media

“I think he was definitely happy and excited to have a piece of home. I’m sure it smelled like home too,” Taylor said.

David left for training in August and was in Iraq for about seven months when he received the stuffed animal in May.

“It took about two weeks for the mail to get to him and he sent the first picture back right away,” Taylor said.

“We showed Waylon the pictures as his dad sent them and he saw different things Dino was doing with his dad while he was gone.”

David sleeps on the plane
Taylor’s viral TikTok features photos of David and Dino in armored vehicles, group photos, and even napping on the flight home.
Kennedy News and Media

Group photo of the deployed men
“They wanted to make sure Dino was involved in things. He’s in the big group picture – Waylon really likes this picture,” Taylor said.
Kennedy News and Media

The 32-year-old Ohio mom created a slideshow of snaps of Dino and David together – they were riding in an armored SUV, hitting the gym, taking group photos and at one point the dinosaur was put in David’s uniform – and it unexpectedly went viral.

“He had some of his friends take some pictures for him,” she said. “They wanted to make sure Dino was involved in things. He’s in the big group picture – Waylon really likes that picture.”

Waylon, who has a “strong bond” with his father, missed David when he was away – the couple loved to go fishing or exploring the great outdoors together.

So in his absence, Taylor tried to “make it even more fun.”

“We Facetimed David and got him involved by sending him Christmas decorations for his room and things like that,” she explained.

David and Waylon at the airport
On August 3rd, David returned home.
Kennedy News and Media

Taylor and her two sons hold signs at the airport
The Ohio family was thrilled to see David again after more than a year.
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Taylor runs and hugs David
A heartwarming clip showed the family reunion in the middle of the airport.
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But after missing Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and more, David returned to his family earlier this month.

“I am very happy that he came home safely. I’m very, very grateful,” said Taylor, who has been married to David for six years.

Taylor’s TikTok video of Dino’s daring adventures has been viewed more than 3 million times as users thanked David for his service and praised the dad’s playfulness.

Family reunion at the airport
“I am very happy that he came home safely. I’m very, very grateful,” Taylor said.
Kennedy News and Media

David, Taylor and Sons
The couple have been married for six years and have two sons.
Kennedy News and Media

Waylon and Dino
Waylon missed his father when he was abroad, Taylor said, adding that they have a strong bond.
Kennedy News and Media

“I know it made him feel a lot closer to you guys,” wrote one viewer.

“Like how I would have sobbed if I was given my baby’s favorite fabric,” agreed another.

“I’m crying he’s an amazing dad,” praised another.

“All I know is that he cried when he opened the package and saw it,” commented another. “I know I would have sobbed.”

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing

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