Battle-weary stray dog makes his journey to safety

A stray dog befriends an US soldier.
Stray dogs have a tough time in war zones. ©aladdin hammami. Unsplash

It isn’t just in the developed world that people work tirelessly to protect and rehome stray dogs. In countries ravaged by years of war and that have been left without an infrastructure you will find people willing to risk everything to look after and relocate stray dogs.

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Arty the mongrel visited US army warrant officer Eric almost daily when Eric was stationed at a base in Afghanistan. But it wasn’t just Eric who enjoyed the company of the beautiful white dog from the plains. His comrades in arms were also taken with the friendliness and loyalty of a dog that seemed to come from nowhere.


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When Eric’s unit was given orders to decamp, the question about what should happen to Arty was as important to the men and women of the base as was the one about how best to move their tanks and weaponry. The solution finally came just in time from an agency called Nowzad: a recent addition to Kabul University’s veterinarian department and the only animal shelter for animals caught up in war zones.

‘Nowzad’ offers to help… but at a cost

Nowzad covers zones of conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine and Libya but the service it offers isn’t without cost. So Eric’s sister Teresa Ridenhour set up a GoFundMe campaign to acquire the necessary money to have Arty flown to the United States, and after a generous ‘top-up’ donation made by Purina’s Dog Chow Charity her target of $4,500 was reached. Arty was duly sent over to Ms. Ridenhour who lives in Texas, and Dog Chow also gave Arty free dog food for one year.

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Arty’s new life is now about walks amid peaceful and safe surroundings; his days of scrounging for suspect scraps of food amid the ruins of towns are over. He now waits patiently to be reunited with the one man who was able to save his life: Warrant Officer Eric.

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Read also: Stabbed Derbyshire police dog back in training

Nick John Whittle lives and works in Birmingham, UK. He is a specialist copywriter, journalist and theatre critic. Over the years Nick’s family has owned dogs, cats, rodents and birds. The history of animal domestication and of people’s relationship with their pets over the centuries interests him a lot. He cares greatly about the welfare of both feral and domesticated animals and supports ongoing protection of endangered species.