Dogs at War
"Staff Sgt. Iron quakes with fear at the sound of explosions. He brawls with other soldiers. He whines when he doesn't get his way and slows others down when he stops to relieve himself during patrols through hostile territory.
"But nobody complains, because when it's time to enter a building that might be rigged to explode, or cross a pasture that could conceal a minefield, Iron is at the front of the line, making sure it's safe for those who follow.
"If it's not, Iron will bear the brunt of the blast, along with his best friend, Sgt. Joshua T. Rose, who ranks one level below him…
"Rose and Iron are one of about 200 canine teams deployed in Iraq, where the bond between soldiers and their dogs is so deep that some handlers have asked to be buried with their canine partners if they are killed together…
"Should dogs be wounded or fall ill, they are given immediate care. Handlers are trained to provide basic treatment until the dog can be taken to a military veterinarian… Severe cases are flown to Germany. This happened with Rose's last dog, Rex. In 2005, Rose and Rex were providing security at the Baghdad trial of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. One day, Rex wouldn't eat. Rose knew that when his 105-pound German shepherd didn't eat, something was wrong. He had him checked by a military veterinarian in Baghdad. The diagnosis was cancer. Rex was dying. He was flown to Germany and euthanized.
"But Rex's memory lives on at Ft. Riley, Kan., home to the Army's 1st Infantry Division and Rose's home base. At the base, dogs have a place to play. It's called Rex's Bark Park."
"It began with a simple act of kindness to save an abused, injured dog from becoming one more victim in the Iraq war. But what followed for Marine Maj. Brian Dennis and the mutt was a tale of friendship and loyalty that spanned miles, borders, and overcame long odds — a tale that took a turn Friday afternoon when the dog arrived at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field airport."
Dug up at Kelly the Little Black Dog's blog
Mama and Boris
"It isn't the homecoming they expected. Fulfilling the final wish of their fallen soldier, a grieving family expects some comfort today when his two dogs arrive at their doorstep straight from the front lines in Baghdad…
"But today, the halfway-around-the-world odyssey of Mama and Boris will end when a rescue group delivers them to Neesley's mother, Christine. It will be bittersweet. Her son is never coming home. The animals he loved are."
"One night, while on guard duty with the US Armed Forces in Iraq, Sgt. Watson’s squadron returned from patrol with a new buddy. Weak, malnourished, and at death’s door, a black and white puppy had decided to adopt the soldiers of the unit known as Charlie Company. Sgt. Watson wrapped the shivering puppy in a blanket, gave it some clean water, a portion of his own rations, and provided what refuge and comfort he could for a poor life he expected would sadly end in a few days – another innocent life cut short in a harsh and unforgiving environment. But the puppy rallied back, thriving on the care, attention and affection of Sgt. Watson and the members of his platoon.
"Soon Charlie [named after the military unit] was the company’s mascot, companion, and four-legged morale booster. Brought back from the brink of death, Charlie has come to represent hope and stands as a living symbol of the power of love and compassion over war and despair.
"US Military Units are constantly on the move so, before Sgt. Watson and his men are forced to abandon their mascot to certain homelessness and ultimate starvation, Charlie needs transport to the United States…"
posted by Harrison at 10:45 PM