Not Photoshopped: Fallen Soldier’s Dog in Halo Beam of Sun

The day before he was killed by an IED in Iraq, Justin Rollins found a litter of puppies living with their mom in a portable...


The day before he was killed by an IED in Iraq, Justin Rollins found a litter of puppies living with their mom in a portable toilet. He and others in his Army squad were smitten, and spent time holding and snuggling with the pups. Someone took several photos of Rollins with a couple of the pups. He couldn’t wait to send them to his fiancee back in New Hampshire. He told her she was going to love the photos. He didn’t tell her what the subject matter was, so it would be a surprise.

But before Rollins’ fiancee could look at the e-mail, she got the terrible news of Rollins’ death. At the funeral two weeks later, Army brass asked his grieving parents if they could do anything for them. The couple had one wish: To get one of the pups their son had held, a pup that had made him so happy just the day before he died.

It was a tall order, and by a miracle (and a lot of lobbying by congressmen and others with clout), it happened. Hero made it back to New Hampshire, where she lives a heavenly life with the Rollinses.

Mom Rhonda says the dog sometimes looks at her in such a way that she wonders if her son’s spirit is somehow in the dog. She has always had a deep connection with her son. In an ABC story, she says that at 6:30 a.m. on the day he was killed, she was getting ready for work and she felt a big jolt go through her. She worried it had something to do with Justin. It turns out that he died at pretty much that moment.

ABC News was recently at the Rollinses’ home to tape part of the story of Justin and Hero. During the session, cameras captured footage of a beam of sunshine enveloping Hero. It’s the kind of sunshine some people call a “miracle sky.”

The moment was not lost on ABC News Kimberly Launier, who was holding one of the cameras:

“All of a sudden, the clouds broke and a light began to solidify in a beam directly down on Hero — a kind of vertical halo. As this dramatic ray of light was shining on Hero she turned to look at me, and it was all I could do to hold the camera steady and not drop it in astonishment.

“It was an unforgettable moment, and made me wonder if in fact Justin was in there. Then the light vanished.”

The moment didn’t surprise Justin’s parents. “I truly, truly believe I’ll see him again,” said dad Skip, “because he sent us a sign so many times that he’s okay, things that are too astronomical to not believe.”

What do you think, Dogsters? Could this have been a sign from Justin? Or was it likely just a nice interplay of camera lens and light source, with the dog in just the right place? Have you had any events like this with your dog? Please share your thoughts and experiences!

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