One dog’s story from Full-time Soldier to House Pet
Reposted content from http://www.nuexpression.com/a-tail-of-two-cities/
We adopted our dog Julia a little over two months ago. Julia was a service dog attached to my husband’s unit while they were stationed in the Sinai Peninsula from 2012-2013. Born in November of 2010 in Israel, Julia was purchased and assigned at North Camp, Egypt when she was barely two years old. Julia did everything the boys did; ate, slept, and went to work. She was mainly used as a visual deterrent but was very good at her job. She always had the boys’ backs and they all swore if they had the chance to save her from her life in the desert that they would do everything in their power to bring her back home to the country she spent over half her life defending.
And my husband, with the great help of Operation Baghdad Pups & the SPCA International, did just that.
After almost two years of separation, and almost 6 months of immense communication and strategy from Lori Kalef and her team from Operation Baghdad Pups and SPCAI, Shane was able to fly over to Egypt and get our girl, along with another dog Boom, who was flying back to the states to be with his new family as well! Since the flight back from JFK to Charlotte wouldn’t allow dogs, I flew up to New York and met Shane and Julia for what was about to be a long 10 hour drive. (Little did I know, a few hours of that ride would be spent with a 65 pound german shepherd riding in my lap). All of my worries and uncertainties about how she would act towards me quickly melted away when she curled up and put her head in my lap as we drove home.
Once we got home, Julia found her brand new bed with lots of treats, toys, and multiple choices of shiny new collars to choose from for my new puppy (a four year old still counts as a puppy when she is new to me haha). Although we were soon to find out that Julia wasn’t made for kenneling when our first day back to work, I came home to find that Julia was an avid escape artist and no matter how we secured her crate, she would be out by the time we got home from work. She now happily greets me at the door everyday when I come home. :)
At first, Julia was very alert, still unsure of her surroundings, and would often sit by the door as if she were on watch. However, over the past several months, Julia has become a very friendly, happy-go-lucky “mama’s girl” as she likes to cuddle and play just like any other dog. She is a little more collected when she is around Shane, and I sometimes wonder if she is so playful with me versus Shane, due to the fact that she associates him with work and me with play. She is just now slowly realizing when Shane gets up and puts on his uniform for the day that she doesn’t have to go with him anymore and that she gets to stay at home.
While she loves to play ball, ride in the truck, and chase the laser-pointer in our front yard every night before bed, she is still very cognizant of her surroundings. We have no need for an alarm system at the Strange home when Julia is in the house, she will let you know when someone is there. With Shane in and out of the house with trainings on the weekends, Julia helps me feel safe and also not as lonely when he is gone. Last month, when Shane had out of town training, Julia didn’t leave my side while I was home. She laid on the couch with me as we watched movies, went for walks, had snacks, and she slept on the edge of the bed with me every night.
At first, I was very nervous and apprehensive of owning a dog who had come from overseas, but I couldn’t be more happy with our decision to adopt Julia. She has made herself a special place in my heart and our household. It wouldn’t be the same without her sloppy dog kisses, and playful pitter-pattering of her claws on our hardwoods. Julia has come light-years from when we brought her home and is adjusting to the American Dream very well! She really is a tail of two cities. If you or a loved one are looking to adopt an animal, please check out their websites!