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Operation "No Buddy Left Behind"

The latest news on the 10 Afghanistan dogs coming to the United States.

What a crazy Spring so far.

Between the beautiful weather and a wildly successful Spring Break here at , we’ve all been going a mile a minute. And since that’s my usual speed, during this down time before Memorial Day, I threw my hat into the ring for another project.

, the soldier’s dog from Afghanistan that we hosted? Well, we are getting a few more. OK, more than a few. Ten more Afghanistan dogs are due to hit US soil starting April 30.

One of the many organizations who helped facilitate Trigger’s journey home was Nowzad. This is a shelter located in Afghanistan and focuses on rescuing and vetting local animals as well as the animals that have taken up residence on US military bases. Unfortunately, when the solder’s are deployed, more often than not the dogs are left behind. As you can well imagine, some of the soldiers have lived on base with these dogs for years and are devastated when they have to leave. These animals play a tremendous part in supporting the soldiers emotionally; it’s as though they are leaving behind a member of their unit.

As written in the Aiken Standard and told to Meredith Festa, volunteer with Guardians of Rescue:

“In November of 2011, in an interview with the Aiken Standard, a daily newspaper published in Aiken, South Carolina Spc. Casey Warrick was praying for a Christmas Miracle for Robo and her six puppies. She wanted Robo, her battle buddy in Afghanistan, and her six puppies to be transported safely from the war-torn country to the United States. "They have made the best memory of this long and harsh deployment, and I want to try to make a miracle happen even if it is a small one," she wrote the reporter.

Warrick believes Robo and her puppies lifted the morale of many on base while in Afghanistan.

"Puppies naturally bring joy. They keep you calm," she said. "You felt normal again; you didn't feel like a soldier."

Part of her dream came true. Robo was adopted by the Nowzad shelter manager and two puppies were sent to the US to live with Warrick in her home in January 2012. Yet four dogs still remained in the Nowzad Shelter.

We [Guardians of Rescue] recently contacted her to tell her that her remaining rescues were coming to New York. When asked about how Spc. Casey Warrick felt about Robo's Pups finally making it to the US she said the following, "They were a miracle to me, they made it seem worth it to be in Afghanistan. They are amazing. This news proves again that miracles do happen"

I have customers who get teary when they leave their dogs for a weekend. I’m getting itchy at the thought of leaving mine for eight days in June. Now imagine feeling as though you abandoned your sole source of emotional support in a war torn country, knowing his or her fate was to die of starvation or be killed by insurgents?

Seriously. Try to wrap your head around that. I bet most of you can’t, because a situation such as that is so far off our radar that we can’t even process it. I get upset when I see Magoo looking out the window at me when I leave. My mind refuses to venture into thinking about him being disemboweled and hung from a fence. That scenario was not pulled from my admittedly overactive imagination, it actually happened to Trigger’s sister Savannah.

In comes Guardians of Rescue. They, along with Soldiers’ Animal Companions Fund, have been tirelessly fundraising to get the money together to bring these dogs to the US. Their initial goal was met (thanks in large part to the Ryan Newman foundation and the Richard & Mary Morrison Foundation – they both donated a whopping $10,000 to this cause) so in comes Pilots n Paws who stepped up to handle their transport to wherever they need to go stateside.

And then there’s lil ol’ me. I agreed to house the dogs until they are adopted. And before anyone else asks: Yes, I’m nuts and No, there’s nothing in it for me.

Ideally, these dogs will go to their rescuers when possible, or active or retired military folks that served in Afghanistan that have a connection to them. Of course all parties concerned understand that isn’t always possible, but military personnel will be given first priority. I will have “visiting hours” available for anyone who would like to meet and potentially adopt the dogs.  Adoption applications will be made available through Guardians of Rescue. Click on their link at the end of this post.

Operation “No Buddy Left Behind” commences the morning of April 30 with the arrival of Socks and Blackie. The following day we will welcome the aforementioned Robo’s puppies Zabba, Tony, Tommy and Sonny. Then last but not least are Sunshine, Vegas, Cinnamon and Lucky. All have been living amongst other dogs or foster parents and are said to be extremely social and in good health.

Here is a list of links for everyone who has contributed to this and other military animal related efforts:

You can also find all of these groups on Facebook, which is a great way to keep up with the most current happenings. I am also on Facebook and will post regularly about this adventure: Hounds Town – Port Jeff.

Stay tuned!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Meredith Festa April 25, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Spoke to another soldier today :) He is part of the group that saved Robo's pups. He said “It’s amazing and something I never thought could possible.. a real true blessing. Thank you so much.” That's what this is all about :)

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