A dear friend of mine lost a puppy yesterday. This was no ordinary friend or puppy. Lee works in the Middle East mostly in hostile territory. He’s far from his family most of the year working in high stress and dangerous situations that most of us would do anything to avoid. He’s been doing this kind of work for years. Through the magic of Facebook, I’m able to keep tabs on Lee and monitor his situation safely from my home office.
Since November of 2010, Lee has been frequently updating all of us on a new friend he met during his current assignment. It was a puppy, a stray that was rescued in an unfriendly zone. Lee fell in love with this little dog he named Neda. She was a beautiful white puppy that clearly adopted Lee as much as Lee adopted her. Over the months, Lee posted updates and pictures of this growing pup and the bond between the two was palpable through both their smiling faces. Neda provided Lee with tiny moments of tranquility in otherwise tense days.
Apparently this is a scene that happens over and over again in regions throughout the Middle East. American soldiers and workers find these canines wandering amongst the chaos and they latch on to each other. Through the help of an organization called the Puppy Rescue Mission, they bring their “battle buddies” home with them. The Mission provides medical care for the pups, gives them all their shots and arranges for their trips back to the states.
I’m afraid this is where my friend Lee’s story turns tragic. On the day he was to ship Neda to his home in Tennessee, the vets determined that she was too sick to travel. She had contracted an unknown illness. A few nerve-racking days later, Neda died of the mysterious illness. Lee lost his “battle buddy.”
All of us who follow Lee on Facebook share his heartbreak and now his new-found cause. He wants to raise awareness, and in turn money, for the Puppy Rescue Mission. They need money to help fund for the care and transportation of these animals. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that these dogs in a very real way help save American lives. They truly are the calm in the storm for most of these men and women.
So, I ask you to join in the effort to give something back to these animals. Join their Facebook group. Send them money. Tell your friends. Help these pups.
Here’s a link to their Facebook Group: Puppy Rescue Mission