Leaving no soldier behind.

By isak, May 31, 2010


Some of the less heard about heros in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan are dogs. The ones that are adopting our troops because, in our troops, they are finding kindness and attention.

You see in Afghanistan, dogs are considered a disgrace. “According to their culture, if you’re bitten by a dog, you cannot get to Allah. The animals there have no voice, they are treated like trash, used for target practice, blown up, runover and used in dog fights,” says Anna Maria Cannan who has untaken the task of bringing five dogs back to the US. Dogs that have served as watch dogs in camp protecting our soldiers.

Here’s their story. I hope after you read it, you will consider making a donation towards the costs of transporting these little four-legged soldiers to the US.

More than just a puppy story…

My boyfriend of 5 years, Chris, deployed in December and is currently stationed in Afghanistan. A few weeks prior to [his] arrival, a suicide bomber entered the combat outpost in the middle of the night where Chris is now located. The dogs on post must have heard the intruder… they started barking and took off after the bomber; in fact one of the dogs, Rufus, grabbed a hold of the bomber’s leg while pregnant Target and Sasha attacked and alerted the troops. The suicide bomber was startled… realizing his cover was blown, he ended up blowing himself up too early so he never made it into the living quarters. A few of the soldiers had some injuries but everyone survived.

One of the dogs was killed and the two other dogs were injured but nursed back to good health. The dog who was killed was Sasha — one of the mothers of the puppies born on base.

Shortly after this incident, the soldiers arrived at their final destination where they befriended the stray dogs and the litter of puppies whom at this time were only 4-5 weeks old. The mother of these puppies was Target whom was badly injured in the blast but ended up surviving.

Sasha’s puppy was left without a mother and, as Chris put it, “Target took him under her wing.” The two living heroes in this story are Rufus and Target, these amazing dogs alerted our soldiers which ended up saving over 50 soldiers lives that day. Sasha was laid to rest, her injuries were just too severe.

Chris, being the animal lover that he is, started taking care of all the dogs in his spare time along with the other soldiers. The puppies are now growing and have become very fond of our soldiers. They have built a bond that cannot be broken. These dogs are the only sense of normalcy that our soldiers experience in a land where life is less than ideal. Our soldiers feed these dogs from their own plates, care for them on a daily basis, and treat them as if they were their own.

I don’t hear from Chris very often, but when I do, you can hear the smile on his face; his voice just lights up when he talks about these puppies. There are three puppies and a few older dogs that the soldiers tend to on a daily basis. The military does not condone befriending animals over there, but these dogs and cats tend to find their way to our soldiers. It’s as if they know the difference between Americans and Afghans. This fact is confirmed daily as Chris tells me stories on how the dogs growl at the Afghan soldiers but show nothing but love to the American soldiers. Dogs have a keen sense of danger and they truly can differentiate good people from bad. There are numerous stories where animals are the result of life saving stories… heroes come in many different forms.

I feel strongly about rescuing these puppies in honor of their mothers who saved over 50 soldiers’ lives. These puppies were born on a combat outpost and were immediately exposed to food and love from our soldiers. Living as strays once the guys return home would be a terrible thing for them.

I am currently in the process of raising money to help get these little pups home. While juggling work and school, I have been fundraising by selling candles and running an online raffle to help rescue these animals. It is a very expensive process and I can’t do it alone.

It costs about $3,000 a dog to cover the costs for transport, vaccinations, quarantine, and transport from the base to the shelter and a nearby airport. I am currently working with an organization out of the UK called Nowzaddogs which has been involved with a few other successful rescues to the US. It is my hope that we can recognize this organization for helping us Americans in succeeding to get the animals to the US. The more we raise, the more animals we will rescue. Unfortunately the SPCA International never got back to me which is why I got in touch with this organization… they have been extremely helpful throughout the process.

Thank you in advance for all your support and generosity. If we can raise enough money we are going to try and rescue Rufus and Target along with the pups. 🙂
— Anna Maria Cannan

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