After Ratchet’s incredible journey to reach the United States, he lived with Gwen’s parents in Minnesota, awaiting his soldier’s return home from Iraq. Ratchet was introduced to lots of new things during his first few days and weeks, one of them being snow. It took some getting used to, but he finally decided he much preferred it to desert sand. When Ratchet was eventually reunited with Gwen, the media was once again there to capture the long awaited moment. Ratchet’s fame led him to being asked to be the Grand Marshal of the St. Paul, Minnesota St. Patrick’s Day Parade, along with Gwen. Ratchet looked smashing in green and all along the parade route, these two heroes received ear deafening applause.
Gwen not only gained a canine companion while in Iraq. She also met her future husband, Austin McGlaun. These two former soldiers were married in August 2010. Now the McGlaun family lives in Georgia and Ratchet could not be happier. Ratchet’s new life includes family vacations, keeping fit by trotting alongside Gwen’s bike, story time in the evening with Austin’s children, cooling off in his own wading pool and having an abundance of squirrels to watch as they scurry along the telephone lines in “Ratchet’s backyard”. On a regular basis Ratchet communicates with a variety of very distinct barks some of which translate into, “there is a dog across the street,” or “my neighbor friend is home,” or “it’s time to play.” Life got even better when Gwen and Austin got Ratchet a new sister this year. Trebil, another Operation Baghdad Pups dog, needed a new home and she could not have found a better one. These two former Iraqi stray dogs became instant friends and their days are filled with adventure and, occasionally, mischief. They have discovered that tearing up stuffed pillows is great fun. It must remind Ratchet of the snow in Minnesota.
Recently Army SPC Gwen Beberg wrote to SPCA International saying, “Ratchet, my Operation Baghdad Pups doggy, is laying here on my toes. He's such an amazing joy to have in my life. I can't imagine what life would have been like if I would have had to leave him behind [in Iraq]. He's helped me so much in adjusting back to life as a civilian after my deployment. He's been in Iraq too and it seems like I just don't have to explain it when I get angry or sad for no particular reason. He just loves and cuddles and brings me his toys and it's impossible to feel bad with him around. He got me out of the house at a time when I didn't want to leave it and back into crowds when that was the last place I wanted to be. He's amazing with my step-kids, neighbors, family, friends, and perfect strangers. He's introduced me to new friends, both human, canine, and even a few cats. Everyone loves him and wants to meet him and play with him. He's been the best therapy I could ever ask for during my deployment and after coming home. THANK YOU & THANK YOU & THANK YOU, SPCAI for your Operation Baghdad Pups program. Long live this program and the people who make it possible!”
Operation Baghdad Pups was thrilled to be a part of Ratchet’s rescue and knowing that it has led to a family being grateful to have one another, makes all the hard work worth it. Undoubtedly, they all have lots of good times ahead of them and all the difficult memories of life in Iraq have all but faded away.