Through the Operation Baghdad Pups program, SPCA International has rescued the dogs and cats of over 100 U.S. service members who were deployed in the Middle East. Each has a compelling, uplifting story; however, due to security concerns we cannot share all of them online - below is just a sample. We encourage you to read the stories below, learn more about our programs and Join Our Cause. Thank you.
Profile: Fergie Gender: Male Rescue Date: 5/25/11 Mission Number: 93
Fergie is a special pup who was befriended and loved by a group of soldiers in Iraq during 2010 and 2011. When the soldiers were told they’d be redeployed home, they couldn’t bear the thoughtof leaving Fergie behind to fend for herself on the harsh streets of Iraq. They contacted SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups program and in May 2011, she was rescued from Iraq and brought to one of the soldiers’ homes in the United States. This is an email we received from one soldier’s wife shortly after Fergie arrived in her new home.
"Hi! Just wanted to let you all know Fergie is home safe and sound! She is settling in great, and is such a sweetheart. I can see why Jon loves her. Fergie and I both miss him but now there's more happy faces for him to come home to. Thank you so much for making this possible, I know it just means the world to him (and to me) to know his buddy Fergie will never be hungry or lonely or homeless again. She is finally home!
Thank you!!!" Holly
Profile: Patton Gender: Male Rescue Date: 5/5/08 Mission Number: 6
Patton was found while his soldier’s tanker unit was en route back to their Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Iraq. The tanker unit saw what looked like a piece of plastic by the side of the road. They approached the small object cautiously, but soon realized it was just a tiny puppy and not a piece of plastic. The puppy was so small he looked like he had just been born. His eyes hadn’t opened yet and he was covered in fleas. The unit of soldiers could see that he would not survive long without some really special TLC. The soldiers could not resist helping the defenseless puppy in need.
They brought him back to the FOB and made a makeshift nipple out of a latex glove. The whole unit helped care for the puppy as they carefully nursed him for two weeks. They made a bed for him in a box with a heating pad and cover to protect him. After two weeks, his eyes began to open. “Ah, he was a cute one,” said his soldier, Derrek.
Since Derrek is part of a tanker unit, they decided to name the dog Patton after General George S. Patton who commanded the first Tanker Corps. in WWI among his many other great military successes in WWI and WWII. Soon, Patton started riding in their tanks while the unit went out on patrol. Derrek explains, “At the time, he was small enough to fit in my tank commander’s curtain. He liked the vibrations from the tank. He slept like a little baby should, despite the horrid noise.”
When asked about how he feels about Patton’s rescue Derrek replied in an email, “I am extremely happy to be getting him home. LOL. He will be home before me! Ain’t that somethin’? I want him out of here. Trust me, anyone that knows this dog will remember him forever. ”
Then Derrek added, “Thank you for helping me get him home. I am very thankful for you all at SPCA International. You all are the bomb!”
Profile: One Eye Gender: Male Rescue Date: 1/14/10 Mission Number: 45
The name One Eye, suggests that this Iraqi cat has a limited view of the world around him. But in fact, he has two eyes. Born on an isolated military outpost near the border with Jordan, One Eye and his littermates were abandoned by their mother at a very young age. Several kindhearted Marines stumbled across the orphans and decided to give it a shot at being surrogate dads, otherwise the kittens would never have survived on their own.
These unlikely caregivers did an amazing job of raising the kittens under challenging circumstances and these “multi-father” felines thrived as the weeks passed. Once the kittens became more active, the guys noticed there was something wrong with one of them though. This particular kitten kept his right eye closed almost all the time and relied entirely on his left eye to see. As this persisted they began to call him One Eye.
Finding a feline Ophthalmologist in far western Iraq or in any part of the country was out of the question. Wanting to do something to help One Eye see normally, the Marines found a medic willing to check out the eye. Putting up very little resistance while being examined, the conclusion was that One Eye’s eyelashes were growing on the inside of his right eyelid. The irritation must have been extremely uncomfortable, but unfortunately there was nothing the medic could do to remedy the condition. The Marines suspected that One Eye would suffer through continuous eye infections and probably eventually lose his sight in that eye – or even lose the eye.
Being a cat in Iraq with impaired vision would most likely result in death at an early age. Not willing to accept this fate for One Eye, a Marine launched a quest to get this affectionate and trusting cat to the states. After doing an on-line search the determined Marine found Operation Baghdad Pups and the process to alter a cat’s fate began.
On January 14, One Eye got his first glimpse of America. Given a day to recover from his long journey from the Middle East, the recent immigrant was driven by Operation Baghdad Pups volunteer, Danielle Berger, from Washington, DC to the Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Dr. Thomas Scavelli had contacted SPCA International in September 2009, to offer the services of the hospital at no charge to those dogs and cats rescued by the program that might be in need of special veterinary care. The timing of this generous offer could not have been any better for One Eye.
Ophthalmologist Petra Anna Lackner performed the surgery to correct the genetic disorder that One Eye had, known as Feline Coloboma Syndrome. It is an embryologic defect that results in malformation and incomplete formation of both upper eyelids. As a result of this malformation the hairs of the upper eyelid roll in towards the cornea and causes severe corneal irritation. Dr. Lackner was able to successfully destroy and remove the irritating hairs in not only One Eye’s right eye, but his left one too. When this news reached the Marines in Western Iraq that had so diligently cared for One Eye and his littermates, they were excited for their buddy. “It’s an awesome feeling that this actually came to fruition,” the Marine who found Operation Baghdad Pups said. “Giving One Eye a better life is what we all wanted and with the help of SPCA International we made it happen.”
One Eye is living the good life in Colorado being spoiled by the Marine who altered the fate of his now “Two Eye” war time buddy that was fortunate enough to be found by a group of Americans who did the right thing and saved the lives of some innocent kittens, and in One Eye’s case – his sight.
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