Now you can rescue a real dog of war saved from the battleground of Afghanistan where dogs are only popular as a spectator sport – dog fighting

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They are the real dogs of war saved from the battlegrounds and dust-caked streets of Afghanistan for adoption in Britain and around the world. Some have been befriended by British soldiers on remote bases of troubled Helmand province, some rescued from rubbish tips or the rabies-threatened streets of Afghan cities and some smuggled through Taliban held-territory to the safety of the capital Kabul.

More Information Here: NOWZAD DOGS

UK Daily Mail (h/t Jane) All will be treated and found homes – many of them in the UK – thanks to two remarkable British dog lovers, former Royal Marine Sergeant Pen Farthing and one-time soldier Louise Hastie – and the UK-registered animal charity Nowzad based in a suburb of the sprawling city.

 Louise Hastie, who runs a Kabul dog shelter and clinic for NOWZAD, pictured with some of the Afghan dogs she is helping to save and bring to the UK

Louise Hastie, who runs a Kabul dog shelter and clinic for NOWZAD, pictured with some of the Afghan dogs she is helping to save and bring to the UK

It helps dozens of soldiers, aid workers and diplomats who befriend dogs during their deployments to Afghanistan take them home as pets with the backing of animal lovers in Britain and around the world who have provided hundreds of thousands of pounds in support.

It helps dozens of soldiers, aid workers and diplomats who befriend dogs during their deployments to Afghanistan take them home as pets with the backing of animal lovers in Britain and around the world who have provided hundreds of thousands of pounds in support.

 Joe who was almost dead when he reached the shelter, but is now making a good recovery

Joe who was almost dead when he reached the shelter, but is now making a good recovery

‘A special bond can build between a soldier and dog in the most intense, dangerous and difficult of conditions,’ said Louise, 40, from Wolverhampton. ‘They are thousands of miles from home, people are shooting at them and they can become lonely – 10 minutes a day stroking or talking to a dog relieves stress, it is a medically proven fact.

‘The dogs walk around the base areas and are befriended by the soldiers, the dogs have never known kindness and a special bond develops. It becomes very difficult to leave behind an animal that has become a friend.

 Louise with Peggy, a dog found wandering the streets of Kabul with her hind leg half removed after a local vet used her for surgery practice

Louise with Peggy, a dog found wandering the streets of Kabul with her hind leg half removed after a local vet used her for surgery practice

‘There have even been a number of instances where the dogs have saved the lives of the soldiers by alerting them to an insurgent presence and explosives, there are real bonds built which the soldiers don’t want to break.’ He added : ‘We’re seeing more soldier rescues than ever before. When you’re being shot at by the Taliban every day, dogs give you that little bit of normality.’

Yesterday Louise was preparing for the return of eight month old Chegwin and Tamera to the UK so the bond with the soldier that had found them scavenging as puppies and rescued them from Afghan soldiers thrown stones before becoming ‘smitten’ by a ‘ball of muck and matted fur’ and adopting them on their base can continue in the UK.

Looking for a new home: Some of the dogs waiting for a new life to begin

Looking for a new home: Some of the dogs waiting for a new life to begin

While home in Britain on leave, the soldier had realised he had ‘wanted to bring the dogs home with me…I missed then too much’ – something Louise says happens often. ‘People realise they can’t leave the dogs behind, they have shared something special together and they don’t want it to end.’

It was on the frontlines in the Helmand town of Now Zad in 2006 that the idea of the charity was first born when Pen, serving with 45 Commando broke up a dog fight, a popular ‘sport’ in Afghanistan, taking place outside their remote compound. He was befriended by one of the dogs, who became his companion and he was named Nowzad.

Vicious: A traditional dog fight held outside Kabul

Vicious: A traditional dog fight held outside Kabul

The Marines built a run and mortar shelter to provide the dogs with some safety and shelter and when the comman force left, Pen, 43, from Exeter, decided he couldn’t leave ‘those sad big eyes’ behind and with the help of animal lovers Nowzad, several other dogs and 14 puppies befriended by Marines were taken on an epic journey to safety.

‘The relationships built up between a dog and soldier on bases can be very special,’ Pen said, ‘A dog can ease the stress and provide five minutes of normality that is hugely important in that kind of environment, it can provide a bond that is hard to break.

Blood sport: After being in a fight the dogs can emerge with horrifying injuries or are even killed

Blood sport: After being in a fight the dogs can emerge with horrifying injuries or are even killed

‘Dogs have been proven to help post-traumatic stress and the soldiers who adopt them are addressing this.’ One of the most poignant journeys Nowzad has helped to organise involved taking back to Britain a dog called Peg, who had been adopted in Helmand by paratrooper Conrad Lewis in 2011.

He fed the dog his rations and she never left his side, even accompanying him during fierce fire fights against Taliban insurgents but two months before he was due to come home, Conrad was killed by a Taliban sniper. His parents Tony and Sandi were determined to honour their son’s last wish and went ahead with transporting Peg – short for Pegasus – in honour of the Para’s winged horse emblem – back to live with them Claverdon, Warwickshire. 

Mr Lewis said :‘Conrad’s spirit is very much here in Peg. She is the link to everything he did out there. Bringing Peg home today is a fulfillment of a commitment we made.’

Two dogs mercilessly attack each other buoyed on by the crowd

Two dogs mercilessly attack each other buoyed on by the crowd

Yesterday more than 100 dogs, 30 cats and three donkeys were in the charity’s bases in Kabul – one an impressive newly-built kennels designed by Louise where 70 dogs, all mongrels destined for new homes are housed.

Two Afghan-trained vets are employed full time while volunteer vets from the UK and United States visit regularly to help oversee operations and treatments that range from removing bullets from a dog, amputating damaged limbs – three dogs awaiting adoption have lost a leg, removing teeth and neutering cats.

‘The donkeys can be in a dreadful state here and are worked until literally they drop but a family is reliant on them for a living and we have been able to persuade them that if they look after their animal, it will look after then.  It is real progress and part of our education programme.’

 Two Afghan-trained vets are employed full time while volunteer vets from the UK and United States visit regularly to help

Two Afghan-trained vets are employed full time while volunteer vets from the UK and United States visit regularly to help

As part of that programme, acclaimed actor Peter Egan, seen recently in Downton Abbey, is due to visit Nowzad’s Kabul operations this month with Pen Farthing during a trip supported by comedian.  Ricky Gervais with the Wetnose Animal Rescue Group that will give footballs to youngsters encouraging them to ‘kick a ball, not a puppy.’

More than 500 dogs have so far passed through Nowzad’s Kabul operation with the charity organising the treatment – chipping and taking blood samples which are then sent to the British authorities for approval followed by four months quarantine for UK, 30-days for the US – before shipping home begins.

A dog’s picture is put on the charity’s website together with their back story  with appeals for funds – the shipping of a dog through Dubai on commercial flights costs around £3,500 and a cat £2,000.