The Boston Herald (

Chris & Dushka.jpg

Inside Track by Gayle Fee

Call it puppy love: Ten 
local teen bands, inspired by a former Dracut Marine who rescued an abandoned pup in Iraq, put on a concert at the Hard Rock Cafe yesterday to raise funds for SPCA International and its effort to help animals in war-torn countries.

“She’s a good dog. She’s pretty sociable, really relaxed and friendly considering the situation I found her in,” former Marine Chris Smith told the Track.

Yesterday’s event was launched after a few of the kids at the DeAngelis Studio of Music & Arts in Haverhill read about Chris and his dog, Dushka, on Facebook last December. SPCA International had just begun a major fundraising effort to bring Dushka back to the states, and the kids and the director of the music school reached out to ask how they could help.

So yesterday’s Youth Showcase Concert became an event to raise funds and awareness for the 
organization’s Operation Baghdad Pups. And it even included a videotaped message from Chris and Dushka.

Smith lives in Vermont now, but he met Dushka when he came upon a litter of puppies in a bombed-out building in Iraq.

“They were close to where we were camped out and I just started feeding them,” he said. “I went over there once or twice a day and gave them rice or whatever we had around and Dushka started following me around.”

As weeks went by Smith began noticing that some of the puppies started disappearing.

“They were getting picked off by other dogs,” he said.

So he grabbed Dushka and took her back to the 6-by-4-foot bunker where he was holed up. After that, the two went everywhere together.

“I’d carry her around in my jacket. I couldn’t leave her alone because it would get cold at night,” he said. “And if she cried, she’d be a target.”

When it was getting close to the time Smith was going to come home, he found a representative from SPCA International on the Internet who was about 20 miles from his position. Smith turned Dushka over to the organization, they gave her shots, got her papers and shipped her to Massachusetts. The dog and the ex-Marine were reunited last month.

“There are plenty of dogs like her over there,” he said. “But not many make it out.”

In addition to raising funds for SPCA, there was a special presentation at yesterday’s event for the band the Black Diamonds. The four young rockers received a proclamation from the Guinness Book of World Records for being the “Youngest Professional Rock Band.” The group, now in their teens, released a record on iTunes when the members were 10 and 11 years old.

File Under: A Dog’s Life.

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