For Immediate Release
CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF REUNITING U.S. SERVICE MEMBERS WITH PATRIOT PETS
Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide Has Rescued Over 800 Animals Befriended by U.S. Troops on Deployment
New York, NY (February 14, 2018) – Today marks the 10 year anniversary of SPCA International’s (www.spcai.org) first dog rescue through the organization’s groundbreaking program called Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide. On this day in 2008, SPCAI program staff returned from Iraq with a dog named Charlie who had been befriended by a group of U.S. Soldiers, called Charlie Company, during their 2007 deployment in Iraq. Since that fateful day, over 800 more animals have been rescued and reunited with their U.S. service members through this one-of-a-kind program.
In 2007, Charlie was found by Charlie Company on the side of the road and near death during a routine patrol. The Soldiers brought him back to camp in an attempt to make his last hours on earth more comfortable. To their surprise, he not only survived the night but thrived and soon became a part of their unit. Charlie accompanied them on patrol, slept with them, was fed from their MREs, learned commands and played fetch. Within a few months the Soldier who had bonded with Charlie the most, Sgt. Edward Watson, Ret., began searching for a way to bring him home. He emailed SPCA International a desperate plea that touched the hearts of the SPCAI staff and unknowingly opened the door for hundreds of other Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and military contractors to rescue the dogs and cats (and one donkey) that they too saved and adore. Today, Charlie resides with Sgt. Watson and his family in Phoenix, AZ.
SPCA International continues to receive regular requests for help from U.S. troops stationed worldwide. Since its inception, Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide has rescued animals for U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Romania, Kosovo, Turkey, Djibouti, Central African Republic and the Philippines.
In February 2018 alone, SPCA International staff and volunteers will rescue 25 dogs and cats for U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East. International rescue operations are always challenging with extensive logistics, safety requirements, animal boarding, and ground and air transportation needs. Although each rescue costs as much as $3,000, Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide is funded by small individual donations averaging just $35 each. For more information visit, www.spcai.org or email us.
About SPCA International
SPCA International is a global animal welfare organization with a mission that is simple, but vast: to advance the safety and well-being of animals. Through outreach, rescue and education programs SPCA International spearheads lifesaving initiatives and assists grassroots animal activists worldwide.