What a real life tearjerker! I can’t read this without getting all weepy!
And thanks to Greg for writing about these dogs! I’m sure your efforts helped get the attention needed to get these dogs “home.”
Media Aid Effort to Bring Fallen Soldier’s Dogs to USA
Peter Neesley hoped to bring the strays back to the U.S. from Baghdad where he had looked after them. Sgt. Neesley, 28, never made it home, but his dogs arrived in this country last week after a herculean effort led by family members, with media outlets helping out, too.
By Greg Mitchell
NEW YORK (February 12, 2008) — Peter Neesley hoped to bring the strays back to the U.S. from Baghdad where he had looked after them. Sgt. Neesley, 28, never made it home, but his dogs arrived in this country last week after a herculean effort led by family members, with media outlets helping out, too.
I wrote about Neesley, who hailed from Michigan, several weeks ago after he was found dead in his bed in Iraq in an still unexplained incident. My column and blog posting drew a wide and very moving response from friends and family. Later, knowing his plans for the dogs, they decided to fulfill his wishes.
Here is an Associated Press story about the “dog rescue” that moved this past weekend.
Growing up, Peter Neesley was an animal-lover who always took in strays around his Michigan home. So when his family heard that the Army sergeant was taking care of two dogs outside his Baghdad military base, no one was surprised.
In e-mails and phone calls from Iraq, Neesley talked about how he came across Mama, a black Labrador mix, and Boris, her white-and-brown spotted puppy, while on patrol in their Baghdad neighborhood.
One of Mama’s puppies was later killed by a car, so Neesley and his friends built a doghouse to shelter the animals. Photographs show Neesley feeding the dogs and kneeling next to the red-and-white doghouse and Boris walking along the cracked sidewalks of Baghdad.
“He was determined. He had already been sending us e-mails about how when he came home in July, he was going to find a way to bring them with him,” said his sister, Carey Neesley.
Neesley’s family was devastated when they learned Christmas morning that the 28-year-old had died in his sleep. The Army said his death is under investigation pending an autopsy.
Still grieving, the family decided that they would honor Neesley’s wishes and try to bring the dogs home to Michigan.
“To have something that they can hold and touch and care for that Peter cared about, that’s the whole thing,” said Julie Dean, his aunt.
Mama and Boris arrived Friday afternoon at Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., home of Neesley’s mother, capping a four-week transfer facilitated by family members, animal rights groups, media outlets and elected leaders.