A Life-Saving Reunion
July 31, 2010 - 6:44 PM | by: Elizabeth Prann
For the first time since a thwarted suicide-bomber attack in Afghanistan, an Army Guardsmen reunites with his best friend and the brave K-9s that saved his life.
In February, Sgt. Christopher Duke and his fellow National Guardsmen woke up to Rufus, Target and Sasha -- three stray dogs adopted by the soldiers -- barking furiously. What the soldiers didn’t know is the three were blocking a suicide bomber, strapped with 25 pounds of explosives, from entering the camp. The attacker was startled by the dogs and detonated the bomb before entering. Five soldiers were injured but all 50 survived that night. Sasha, the youngest pup died from injuries after the blast.
Duke’s deployment came to an end a month later and he returned home to Georgia where he immediately started working to get the dogs home.
“They just went above and beyond the call of duty," Duke said.
Businesses across the world came to the call of Hope for the Warriors, a group that works to grant the wishes of injured soldiers and their families. After a slew of coordinated efforts, the ball was rolling and the funding was coming in to bring these dogs to the U.S.
“This one was very unique in that it included bringing some dogs home from Afghanistan which we've never been involved in,” said Hope for the Warriors CEO Robin Kelleher. “We as American people have a different view and a different relationship with our pets and especially with our dogs. It’s man's best friend, so when a dog is the good part of something you believed in, than that dog will be part of your life forever.”
Duke was speechless at the reunion in Atlanta, Georgia but he looks forward to giving Rufus the best life possible, in exchange for his.
"It's surreal," he said. "I didn't even expect him to live much less be here with me, and at my house!"
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