There are many ways to support our troops at home and overseas. I've read diaries about sending gifts and letters, diaries about supporting legislation, and diaries about fighting back against smears and attacks. I have not seen a diary about helping deployed soldiers bring home the pets they befriend in Iraq.
Iraq is a very tough place to be a dog or a cat just as it is a tough place to be a soldier. Neglect and cruelty to dogs and cats is normal in Iraq and as our soldiers go about their busines they witness many examples of this. One example: little Stryker, a puppy: "Stryker has an especially sweet story of rescue and survival. On patrol with his unit in Baghdad, National Guardsman Zachery Wolf heard a small cry. As the team looked around to see where the cry was coming from, they discovered a bag of cement mix that someone had poured water into. Inside the bag, stuck in the hardened cement was a tiny puppy yelping for help. Zachary and his team were horrified,..."
Zachary Wolf and his unit went back for the puppy and rescued him. Now, thanks to the Baghdad Pup project sponsored by the International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the puppy is living with Mr. Wolf's family in the US.
More about Operation Baghdad Pups below the jump.
If you put "Operation Baghdad Pups" in your search engine the website will come up. So far the effort to save the pets of soldiers has resulted in the rescue of an impressive list of dogs nd cats, each with its own heartwarming story of love and dedication. Over and over the troops recount how the decision to save an animal saved them: the puppies that grew into dogs amongst the soldiers gave back in love all they recieved; the cats that curled into laps and purred gave back peace of mind to stressed soldiers just as the soldiers gave security to the cats. Can you imagine how heartbreaking it must be to face leaving a companion animal in Iraq to face death by starvation and neglect?
Operation Bahgdad Pups was started in 2007 when deployed soldier Edward Watson,after months of effort to save his dog Charlie, contacted the SPCA. Since then the SPCA, funded by donations, has sponsored modestly sized airlifts of pets from Iraq to the US. The latest airlift carried about twenty five animals to safety so they would be home when their soldiers returned.
As word has spread more and more soldiers are trying to save their pets. It costs about four thousand dollars to bring a dog or cat back from Iraq. In addition the animals need to be vetted and go into quarrantine. It is a difficult process requiring dedication on the part of the soldier. These troops need our help to bring their friends back home with them.
AS we (hopefully) pull more and more troops out of Iraq the need for funds to bring the pets home will increase.
I hope that those of you who are writing letters to troops or otherwisw supporting soldiers will take a minute to go to the Operation Baghdad Pups site and make a there donation as well.
Leave no buddy behind!