While the war in Iraq may have officially ended last week, the U.S. soldiers who were stationed there will be feeling the after effects of life in a warzone for some time. As soldiers and Army personnel are reunited with their American friends and family, they are often leaving behind their Iraqi family — the many stray Iraqi dogs the soldiers bonded with and took care of while serving overseas. The pups provided an invaluable emotional support to the men and women and many returning soldiers are now working with a program called Operation Baghdad Pups to bring their Iraqi pets to the States.
A program of the International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Operation Baghdad Pups has thus far reunited 291 dogs, 29 cats and one donkey (yes, donkey!) with the soldiers who loved and cared for them. And while it’s easy to say “why can’t you just adopt a needy animal in the U.S.?” for these soldiers, the animals they bonded with in Iraq are not simply pets, but important emotional caregivers, family members and links to their own experiences. Rescues of Iraqi animals don’t come cheap though, and the Baghdad Pups program is looking for donations. If you have a few dollars to spare, please think about giving a donation to this extremely worthwhile program. You’ll be helping both an animal and a service member in need. [SPCAI]