If you look online, it is not hard to find stories about soldiers bonding with animals overseas. One story in particular that sticks out in my mind that I read on LATimes.com was about British paratrooper in Afghanistan. He adopted a stray dog that he had befriended and named her Pegasus. Everyone called her Peg. Lewis would write home talking about his new friend describing her as a member of his military family, “I have taught her to sit and give me her paw…. She patrols with us, she is not afraid of the Taliban or their bullets.” Lewis went home for Christmas leave in 2010. He told his father, Tony, that Peg was so important to him that he wanted to bring her home when he returned from his deployment. “That’s your job, Dad,” he said. Two months later, in February 2011, Pvt. Lewis died in war at the age of 22. Tony Lewis and his wife, Sandi, knew they needed to honor their son’s wish to bring the dog home. A friend put them in touch with Pen Farthing, a former British Royal Marine whose charity, Nowzad helps reunite adopted pets with soldiers and contractors after they leave Afghanistan. The parents, the charity, and Conrad’s fellow paratroopers all worked together to get Peg home. Peg was slipped aboard a military helicopter, then disguised as a military working dog. Afghan army soldiers were paid to deliver her to Kabul. She was taken care of there and then delivered. “Having her here means so much to us,” Tony Lewis said on Thanksgiving Day. ” She is a link to Conrad’s time in Afghanistan, a symbol of his sacrifice. She is something he loved, and we love her too…. She has his spirit.” I think that is such a beautiful story. And to follow that, here are some beautiful pictures of soldiers and the friends they made while on active duty.
1. Marine Sergeant Frank Praytor is feeding an orphaned kitten. He adopted the kitten after its mother died from the war.
2. Is that a parrot or a kitten? One thing is for sure, it is ADORABLE!
3. Stray kitten taking a cat nap on a soldier in Afghanistan in 2009.
4. Marines give breakfast to a stray puppy. And by the looks of it he even gets strawberry milk.
5. Rescuing a dog in the streets of Afghanistan.
6. A soldier with his adorable rescued puppy.
7. A soldier carries a kitty through a field.
8. I bet that little guy is feeling pretty safe.
9. A soldier and a few of his friends waiting for a little snack.
10. Soft and oh so fluffy!
11. A soldier with his dog.
12. A marine carrying his partner back to the kennels after an exhausting two-hour search.
13. A dog saying goodbye to his soldier friend.
14. A French soldier feeding his kitten during the Vietnam War.
15. A puppy sleeping with Russian Soldiers during WWII.
16. A soldier in Iraq and his pet donkey.
17. One of the soldier’s adopted puppies uses this bag so he can hide and beat the heat.
18. A soldier feeding puppies in need.
19. Some kittens found in Afghanistan.
20. A soldier and his kitty friend.
21. A very tired soldier and a sleepy puppy.
22. This frisky little guy kept soldiers company on a mountaintop north of Kabul, Afghanistan.
23. A dog kissing a soldier.
24. A tough soldier with his cute kitty.
More info: SPCAI
Since 2007, the SPCAI’s Operation Baghdad Pups has helped bring home almost 300 dogs and cats adopted by soldiers overseas when their tours are over or they’re redeployed. Stephanie Scott, the director of communications for SPCA International, says, “These dogs are valuable in multiple ways, sometimes they become working dogs, helping protect soldiers. And sometimes soldiers are just able to escape by throwing a ball or wrestling a dog after a stressful patrol. Dogs are a piece of home.”