Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stray Dog From Baghdad Comes to US

It's a feel-good story, although he looks like he's plotting something big in the photo...

Washington Post

He hesitated just a bit as he rounded a corner inside Dulles International Airport yesterday and spotted the flock of television cameras and cooing journalists awaiting him. Then, with posture erect like a soldier's, he trotted straight toward the action -- he was used to bomb blasts and gunfire, after all, so this was nothing.

Post-escape from Baghdad and fresh off a 13-hour flight from Kuwait, Charlie the border collie mix actually seemed to be smiling for the crowd. Five months after the SPCA International received a plea from American soldiers hoping to transfer their beloved Iraqi stray to U.S. terrain, the 9-month-old mutt became the first beneficiary of the animal advocacy organization's effort to rescue pets from the war zones where they provide solace to service members. Charlie eventually will live in Phoenix with one of his caretaker soldiers.

It being Valentine's Day, the SPCA dished out the emotional hyperbole. Charlie's bond with his caretakers, the organization said, "is the ultimate love story between a man and his dog." The soldiers, too, were effusive.

"We can't wait for him to get his first taste of the good old USA," one wrote in an e-mail to the SPCA. "We especially can't wait until we can see him again."

Parts of Charlie's back story were obscured to protect those he left behind. In his case, they were U.S. soldiers based at a Baghdad outpost -- the SPCA identified the unit only as Charlie Company -- who were barred by military rules from keeping pets. But when the soldiers came upon a flea-infested and starving puppy while on patrol, they could not resist sharing their affection and their ready-to-eat meals. read more...

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