Being deployed overseas is a grueling, emotional, isolating experience for many soldiers. But for one special forces team, love flourished in the desert of Afghanistan when they rescued two orphaned puppies. The team was heartbroken when they had to leave the dogs behind, but Guardians of Rescue announced today that they are helping a U.S. Elite Special Forces Team save their two puppies from Afghanistan.
According to the International Security Assistance Force, the United States currently has approximately 32,800 troops in Afghanistan. During their time overseas, many in the armed forces meet and bond with dogs that they rescue - and who then share their lives. These dogs provide the soldiers with companionship, love, and solace from the atrocities of war - and they're devastated to have to leave them behind when their tour ends.
This month, animal rescue organization Guardians of Rescue will heal the heartbreak for one Special Forces team and their beloved dogs. The organization is securing transportation and safety in cooperation with Nowzad to transport two puppies from Afghanistan to the United States.
On Wednesday, July 23, the dogs, named Rommel and Blitz, will be reunited with the sergeant who saved them in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"When we got there, we saw a few Afghanis standing around something and firing at the ground,” stated an elite special forces sergeant, whose name cannot be revealed for security reasons.
“We could see an adult dog and figured that they were shooting the dog over and over again. When we got closer, we saw that the situation wasn’t what we expected. The corpse of a dog on the ground had a litter of puppies no more than a week old and they weren’t just shooting the mother, but also shooting the pups."
The Elite Special Forces intervened, taking the two surviving puppies and naming them Rommel and Blitz. The team hand-raised the tiny orphans, who grew up on the base and their loyal companions - and their protectors, as well.
When the Special Forces' tour ended, Rommel and Blitz had to be left behind in Afghanistan. Rommel was also struck by a contractor's truck and he suffered a broken leg. Without veterinary care, the injured dog limped around the camp for months - and without the U.S. troops' protection, both dogs were in danger from enemy forces. The team had to act fast to save the dogs - so they reached out to Guardians of Rescue.
Working collaboratively with Nowzad, which arranged transportation, and Rachel's Rescue in California, which raised money for the rescue effort, an effort to rescue the dogs began. Rescuers raised $10,000 to transport the dogs to New York, and once the animals were safe with Nowzad, Rommel finally received a much-needed surgery to save his shattered leg.
"This is part of our No Buddy Left Behind Program," stated Robert Misseri, founder and president of Guardians of Rescue.
"Raising that kind of money isn't easy, but helping our heroes and their four-legged battle buddies is the least we can do. After all, they sacrifice their lives for our freedom on a daily basis."
In only five weeks, Guardians of Rescue had raised the funds to bring Rommel and Blitz to America - and to the people who loved them. The organization still needs donations to help cover the cost of transportation and medical expenses - but it will all be worth it when these beloved dogs reunite with their heroes in North Carolina on Wednesday, July 23.
Other dogs from Afghanistan have been successfully brought to the U.S., thanks to the help of animal rescue organizations. In 2010, Nowzad helped an Afghan mountain dog named Oso come to the U.S. Specialist Philip Bourrillion of the 5-2 Stryker Brigade rescued a five-week-old puppy who he named Oso, and the little Afghan Mountain dog repaid him tenfold with love, companionship, and solace from the atrocities of war.
Baghdad Animal Rescue, Nowcad Dogs, Animal Rescue Families, PAWSitive Changes, Inc., Pet Airways, Pilots n' Paws, and Pasado’s Safe Haven joined forces as a unified effort in “Operation Oso.” This collaboration of care helped Oso travel for more than 9,000 miles and 55 hours. Oso currently lives in Washington State with her family.
Guardians of Rescue, which is based in New York, is an organization whose mission is to protect the well being of all animals. The organization provides aid to animals in distress, including rehabilitation, facilitating foster programs, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors.
To learn more, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, visit their website here.
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