While deployed in Afghanistan, Sergeant Chris Duke had no idea what a few stray dogs would mean to him. The three dogs started hanging around Chris’ base, but he and the other soldiers who befriended the dogs had no idea the dogs would one day save their lives.
The dogs became a source of comfort for the soldiers that were stationed so far away from home. The furry critters seemed to give them a connection to their pets back home that they missed, and the dogs became known as Sasha, Rufus, and Target. Little by little, the dogs became part of the soldier’s team.
“You know, a lot of us used the three of them as kind of an escape…you know, whenever you’re homesick,” said Chris. These lovable dogs reminded the homesick soldiers of the love that was waiting on them whenever they would return home.
Chris and the other soldiers were grateful for the companionship of the dogs, but that friendship led to more than they would ever have imagined. One night when the men were sleeping the dogs began barking. The soldiers woke up to find that a suicide bomber had snuck into their headquarters. It’s likely that the 50 soldiers would have died that night if it hadn’t been for the dogs’ warnings.
Luckily, with the help from the dogs, the soldiers were able to react quickly averting any threat to their lives. The suicide bomber killed himself before any of the soldiers were harmed. The soldiers were safe thanks to the alert from their friends. Unfortunately though, Sasha was killed during the attack. Her furry companions, Rufus and Target, were able to be nursed back to health.
When it came time for Chris to return home, he was worried about what would happen to the dogs that had saved his life. If he left the dogs behind and the next group of soldiers didn’t want them, the fate of the dogs was bleak. Rather than leaving the lives of the dogs up in the air, Chris decided to take action.
He contacted Hope for Warriors, a group that attempts to make the wishes of veterans come true. Chris explained why the dogs were so important to him and that he wanted them to return to the United States with him. His story touched Hope for Warriors President Robin Kelleher who was determined to do everything she could to grant his request.
She opened a Facebook page to raise money to help with Chris’ request. Within a few short months, the page had raised $21,000, the amount needed to bring the dogs home with Chris. He brought the dogs home and is determined to give his heroes the best life possible.
“I owe my life to those dogs,” said Chris.
This story is layered with so many blessings – Chris and his fellow soldiers were unharmed during a suicide bomber’s attempt, Chris returning home safely from his tour of duty and in the end, he gets his wish to be reunited with the two surviving dogs that saved his life!
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