Life as a stray dog anywhere is difficult, but in Afghanistan it’s particularly cruel. Strays there are often victims of not just neglect, but terrible cruelty. Hunger is only one enemy. Stoning, maiming, and shooting are some of the other horrors these dogs routinely face.
But thanks to several incredible rescue groups around the U.S., some lucky strays who bonded with soldiers there are being rescued from their nightmarish lives and brought here. Most will eventually be reunited with their soldiers and become their forever dogs.
Today we bring you a look at three strays from Afghanistan in different stages of rescue.
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The dog above is named Willie, and he is still in Afghanistan. His story is best told by a soldier who knows him. This is from the Facebook page of the excellent rescue organization, Puppy Rescue Mission.
“The locals here some how got ahold of him when he was still young, and took him. They didn’t treat him well, and even cut his ears off. The poor guy came running back to base looking for help ears bleeding. The entry control point called up on the radio saying that Willie had returned to base and was bleeding pretty bad. Me and the medics wrapped him up and nursed him back to health. I think he eats better then most of us, since we all tend to give him food when ever we eat. He mostly sleeps with me, however the whole base loves him, and he tends to sleep around with who ever calls his name first haha. To be continued …”
If you check in at Puppy Rescue Mission, you will soon see a page devoted to bringing Willie home. (The thought of this sweet dog running in a panic with the searing pain of his ears having been chopped off and coming to the American military base tears at the heart, doesn’t it?)
As I am writing this in the wee hours of Friday, Smokes is en route to the United States, with five hours to go before landing. Smokes will make his life in Massachusetts with his soldier, Evan Parker. Donors to the Puppy Rescue Mission (people like you and me) helped make this miracle change in this dog’s life come about.
“Breathe that air. That’s war-free air.”
These were some of the first words heard by a 70-pound former stray dog from Afghanistan when he landed on U.S. soil yesterday. Trigger may not have understood their meaning, but he probably figured out that he’d ended his long journey from Kabul in a very different place from where he started â€” one with lots of belly rubs and affection and calm people and no ammo or mortar blasts.
About seven months ago, Trigger was found by soldiers on patrol and quickly bonded with the unit. “He’d come no matter where you were on the base when you called,” said the soldier who helped rescue him and will soon become his official owner. (He needs to remain anonymous to keep the dog and his family safe.)
“You come home at the end of a horrendous day and you’re greeted by a big, loving face,” said someone close to the soldiers. “When you’re away from everything that is familiar to you, it meant a lot.”
A second dog also became part of the unit, but when she was found dead, the soldiers vowed to get Trigger back to the U.S. safely. Thanks to the efforts of the group Guardians for Rescue from Port Jefferson, NY, Trigger is now a U.S. “citizen.” He’ll learn some basic housetraining and obedience skills in New York before heading to Washington state to meet his soldier rescuer, who is based there.He is greatly looking forward to seeing his faithful friend again, and says it will be a little “surreal.”