Through Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide, SPCA International has rescued the dogs and cats of over 900 U.S. service members deployed all over the world. 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.
Sgt. Strange’s Love for Julia
“My name is SGT Shane Strange, I am currently serving with US Army National Guard in North Carolina. I am contacting you today in the hopes of receiving your assistance in bringing home the dog that was attached to my unit as a “visual deterrent” while I served in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as part of the Multinational Force and Observers. The dog’s name is Julia and I was her first handler in 2012 and I developed a bond with her that I have never had with any other animal. She ate, slept, played, trained, and comforted us every day. She never once left my side. I attempted to adopt her multiple times while there with her, but my efforts were blocked by my chain of command each time. I recently was informed that there was a possibility that I may now be able to adopt her (two years since I left her behind in Egypt) as the need for her there has somewhat changed. I am able and willing to do whatever it may take to get Julia back. She was the absolute best dog I have ever had the privilege of serving/ working with, and I made her a promise on my last day in country that if there was ever a way for me to get her back that I would do it, and that I would not allow her to live out the rest of her days in the desert if there was anything that I could do about it. Please let me know what it
is that I need to do, or what I can do in order to keep my promise.”
– Sgt. Shane Strange, U.S. Army National Guard
Sgt. Duck and Layla
In Iraq, patrol rides can get tedious, unless you have a lovable pup like Layla that gets to come along. Layla was one of 8 puppies found on the U.S. military base in Iraq where U.S. Army Sgt. James Duck was deployed in 2015. Duck and his fellow Soldiers started looking after the litter; bringing them food from the mess hall and ensuring their safety by building a special enclosure for them. When the command ordered the puppies be moved, their lives were at risk. Duck and his team contacted SPCA International’s rescue experts in June and a mission to bring them home began. By August 2015, all 8 puppies were stateside and in loving, forever homes with their military caretakers. Today, Duck and Layla are living a happy life together in South Carolina.
Thank You from Bogie and Bryan!
“Bogie laid on my chest on the
ride home from the airport and she slept by my side all night long.
I woke up in the middle of the night because I felt my hand get all wet. I woke up and Bogie had fallen asleep with her paw on my arm and she was drooling all over my hand. I’m not quite sure what delicious treat she was dreaming about, but I’m glad she isn’t a sleep chewer. LOL.
Thank you again, to you and all your colleagues, for getting all these dogs safely home from Iraq. It was so great to be with Bogie again and to see how big and healthy she has become. I can’t wait until I’m stateside permanently and can take her hiking regularly. You guys are nothing short of amazing and such a great group of people to work with.
– Bryan Johnson
“Operation Baghdad Pups helped our family get “Snow” home from Iraq. She definitely would not be around today if left in the hands of the locals at the base she was living near. It’s taken a lot of patience and love from my sister and her husband in order to get Snow adjusted to life in the States after a long hard life in Iraq. Thanks, Baghdad Pups for getting her from the northern part of the country, to Baghdad, and all the way to Dulles where we were all reunited.
The Operation [has] saved so many animals and is a wonderful organization that lets the world know that our country has a special place in our hearts for animals caught in the perils of war. I urge anyone that is deployed down range to try and take advantage of this to save any animals that may have helped their units provide force protection, or simply boost moral.”
– Brandon Saam
Dobby the cat
“SPCAI helped me save the life of my little buddy who I saved from ISIS. Their staff is completely true and helpful. They have earned my upmost respect. I am honored to know this organization. My little kitten is most blessed to have been helped by them!”
– U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Michael Windecker
Sgt. Adam and Boom
U.S. Army Sgt. Adam Jones served in an Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) detachment deployed in Egypt in 2015. A puppy was given to his unit as a way to help boost morale. They named him Boom, a fitting name for the mascot of a team of explosives experts. Boom often accompanied the Soldiers on demolition range training exercises where Boom got more freedom to explore. Off duty, Boom was their favorite company for downtime; snuggling up in their laps, playing fetch and learning tricks. When Jones’ detachment was ordered to redeploy back home, he knew he couldn’t leave Boom behind. SPCA International was there to help and a few months later Boom arrived in the U.S. Now, Boom is living the good life with Jones and his wife on their beautiful farm in Kansas.
“When I was a soldier in Iraq my patrol happened upon a puppy. Dogs are not treated very well in this part of the world. So we dismounted, I grabbed the puppy and we continued on with the mission.
The puppy grew through the three months while I had him and we grew together. There was almost never a time when we were apart. We shared meals and he loved to follow me everywhere. My squad and I named this cute little puppy Hero. I couldn’t let Hero live the way dogs here live — hot, hungry and scared of humans.
So, I went on the internet searching for anyone that could help me get Hero back home. That’s when I found SPCA International’s program, Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide.
I am so grateful to everyone at SPCA International who made Hero’s rescue possible.”
– Combat Medic Zealand Hatch, U.S. Army
The Baghdad 9
“While deployed to Iraq, our team members quickly became friends with a female dog that was very friendly. About a few weeks into my deployment, she had 8 healthy puppies. These puppies and mom had little chance of survival.
We brought the pups to our workplace and constructed a dog house to house the entire family. We got to see the pups every time we came to work. They were an inspiration. The mom, Jasmine, was good to the pups and stayed with them while they nursed. When they were old enough, she would travel a quarter of a mile to bring back a single sausage for the pups to share. Obviously, we would bring the entire family food from the chow hall because mom could not feed everybody.
We reached out to SPCA International to help get this family out. It is my belief that all would have perished or be put down without their intervention. This organization was amazing. They worked with all the agencies necessary to coordinate the rescue. They asked nothing in return. Once the dogs were cleared, SPCA International flew all eight pups and their mom to the United States. I have chatted with several folks who received the puppies. All are doing well and thriving, including my own, named Shadow.
I cannot say enough about the SPCA International. I am sure this whole family of dogs would have perished by starvation or been shot without their help. The rescue was truly a shining moment considering all the hate going on in the world.”
– Major David Underwood, U.S. Air Force, Ret.
Sugar Plum’s Rescue
“Sugar Plum saved me. Now I just want to save her.” Pat Day wrote that to SPCAI when she was working at Camp Condor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq for months. Unless you’ve been there, it’s hard to imagine how lonely and long and really, really hard the days are in Baghdad.
This beautiful dog, Sugar Plum, was Day’s savior while she endured the hardships of deployment. It is also hard to fathom what a cruel, impossible, painful life Sugar Plum would face in Baghdad without Day’s love and protection—if SPCAI didn’t step in to rescue her in February 2015. Thanks to an outpouring of help from our supporters—SPCAI made this American’s dream come true. Today, Sugar Plum is safe and living with Day’s family in Texas.