Dogs are man’s best friend, or so the saying goes. No where does man need a best friend more than on a deployment. Soldiers have used dogs on the front lines for thousands of years and there is no question that a well trained military working dog is a valuable asset. Working dogs have many jobs including guarding installations, explosives and drug detection, and even as companion animals for treating PSTD. Soldiers owe a lot to these fine animals and sometimes they get a chance to give back to a species that has given so much.
Elli was born on the fourth of July in a country at war. She is a mixed breed that is about 75 percent Turkish Kangal, 25 percent who-knows-what, and 100 percent adorable. Her mother was found in a war torn part of Northern Iraq and gave birth to a litter of puppies on a military outpost. Elli is very smart, quite fearless, and about as well behaved as a puppy can be. She would make the ideal pet for a family back in the United States. Thanks to the SPCA and a program called Operation Baghdad Pups she is getting her chance to become a U.S. Citizen.
Operation Baghdad Pups was started back in 2008 as a resource for service members stationed overseas who befriend local dogs and other animals while on deployment. Since the beginning of this project the SPCA has helped rescue “over 640 animals from multiple countries in the Middle East, Central Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa”. Elli is just one of many happy endings to the continuing story of man and his relationship with animals in war.
You may think that the process of rescuing a animal from a nation in conflict includes a ton of paperwork, bureaucratic red tape, and lots of money on the part of the soldier or, in this case, DoD contractor. This is not the case.
There are two forms to fill out. The first is a basic one page application that is processed very quickly. The second form is a little longer, about 7 pages, but very easy to fill out. The forms are mostly questions about the family that is adopting the animal, to ensure the animal is going to a good home. The SPCA pays for everything including having a local vet pick up the animal from the base to get it the required vaccinations. After a minimum wait of 30 days after receiving the rabies vaccine, the SPCA will purchase a animal freight ticket for a flight back to the United States where the animal will be received by the SPCA and the lucky service member.
Elli is flying out soon to a new future with a loving family and children who are already excited to meet their newest member. To learn more about rescuing animals while on deployment go to the SPCA website or search online for “Operation Baghdad Pups”. Follow the simple steps and a deployment pet could become a permanent pet.
Always remember to be very careful around stray animals and NEVER approach any strange animal. Feral animals often carry diseases that can be transmitted to people and may be wild and dangerous. Always follow the rules set forth by your chain of command which typically have strict policies on feeding or taking in stray animals.