It’s a promise that every soldier makes in battle; leave no one behind, and for these six National Guard soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, it also meant no dog left behind.
While stationed in Western Afghanistan in 2012, the soldiers grew to care for a stray dog that started following their unit around. The dog, who they named Sheba, which is Hebrew for promise, started following their unit around. She soon began to go on missions with them and protect them from wild dogs in the area. The soldiers vowed to keep Sheba safe.
In March of 2013, Sheba gave birth to seven puppies, dubbed the “Magnificent Seven”. The soldiers and their medic nursed and cared for both Sheba and her pups.
Once the soldiers returned home, they could not bear to think of Sheba and her pups still in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba of Long Beach reached out to an old high school teacher who put him in touch with local rescue group, Guardians of Rescue, whose vice president is Port Jefferson Station’s Save-A-Pet Founder, Dori Scofield.
Scofield was able to get the dogs home through Guardians of Rescue’s “Paws of War-No Buddy Left Behind”.
She began a fundraising campaign to get the dogs home and contacted Nowzad Shelter, a private organization in Kabul for help. In mid-June, a mission was crafted that allowed Sheba and all seven pups to arrive safely in Nowzad.
Scofield estimates the cost of getting home each pup at $2,000.The mission was able to raise over $15,000.
Last week, the reunion they had hoped for took place as Sheba and her pups were reunited with the soldiers.
“The whole team looked forward to coming back at night and taking care of these animals,” said Scofield. “It became like a home base for them and to get them home they were elated.”