Facing certain death, dogs from Afghanistan find new homes in the U.S. and Canada

These stray dogs who befriended soldiers in war-torn Afghanistan have been flown thousands of miles to start a new life. The pooches were reunited with the servicemen and women with whom they bonded so closely while on duty.

Animal-loving US soldiers regularly make best friends with loyal Afghan dogs, who are invaluable companions on the front line and provide relief after days of brave and exhausting fire fights. British charity NOWZAD Dogs, which was started by former British Royal Marine Pen Farthing, who served in Afghanistan, masterminded the huge operation to relocate the animals.

American Airlines flew the dogs from the Middle East to JFK Airport, New York, where emotional reunions took place. The soldiers travelled from their home towns across America to greet the dogs off the plane before taking them home. The charity American Dog Rescue and skincare firm PRAI Beauty, which has donated over £30,000 towards helping NOWZAD Dogs transport strays, were also part of the operation.

ANIMALS   provide comfort to our Warriors especially when they are far from home, under fire and spending many months away from home…The stray dogs & cats are pretty much verboten but like many other things, military personnel find a way to keep the fuzzy friends under wraps. U.S. Soldiers and Marines are smuggling them onto bases across the country. The military leadership seems to turn a blind eye, though regulations specifically prohibit them.

They go by names like Smoke, Bacon, Mickey Blue Eyes and Butterscotch, and they can be coerced with as little as a pat on the head, a scratch behind the ears or a tasty treat. They are the stray dogs and cats of Afghanistan who, at many — if not most — U.S. bases here are adopted by Soldiers and Marines individually, by squad or platoon, and spoiled as much as any mutts or felines in suburban America.

While no one will say so officially, it appears commanders recognize the value that pet dogs and cats bring to the morale of a base, so they look the other way as long as the animals do not interfere with the mission or present health concerns.

 

CANADA: Alberta teacher rescues 7 stray dogs from Afghanistan. “I cannot begin to tell you the abuse that I saw the mother dog endure,” he said.

CTV.CA  (H/T Traduction) When Spencer Sekyer stumbled upon a stray dog and her new brood in war-torn Afghanistan 18 months ago, he couldn’t walk away. The puppies were huddled in the gutter and their mother appeared to have been abused. But they quickly warmed up to Sekyer, an Alberta junior high school teacher who spends his summers teaching in conflict zones around the world.

Sekyer was hooked. He began feeding the canine family and playing with the pups, but soon realized he wanted to do more. One-and-a-half years later, seven of the now-grown pups arrived in Calgary, thanks to Sekyer’s efforts to arrange their new lives in Canada.

After a long flight from Kabul via Frankfurt, Germany, Sekyer and the dogs were reunited Friday at the Calgary International Airport. “It’s the right thing to do,” Sekyer told CTV Calgary. “I think you’d have to have a heart of stone just to walk by,” he said of his first encounter with the puppies.

Rescuing the dogs and bringing them to Canada wasn’t an easy task. Before he left Afghanistan, Sekyer first had to find a shelter for them. On his return home, he had to raise the money ($4,000 per dog) to fly them halfway around the world. Sekyer and his wife even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro as part of their fundraising efforts. Air Canada also helped by waiving their $28,000 fee to fly the animals to Canada.

Once the dogs cleared customs in Calgary on Friday, they were let out of their cages for an emotional reunion with Sekyer. The dogs wagged their tails and some of them whimpered as Sekyer petted them for the first time since that summer in 2010.

Each dog will be checked out by a veterinarian, spayed and microchipped before joining a new family in Canada. “It’s been a crazy ride but it’s all worth it,” Sekyer said.