May 27, 2024


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Nick Kingsley held Puma the day he rescued the puppy in Kosovo and took it to the vet in November.
Nick Kingsley held Puma the day he rescued the puppy in Kosovo and took it to the vet in November. © Pose of War

In operational areas, soldiers often develop deep bonds with stray animals. A Kosovo soldier found the injured puppy and decided to save it.

Soldier Nick Kingsley was about to eat lunch at the canteen he was stationed in Kosovo when he spotted a hungry stray puppy outside.

Kingsley, who is stationed in Eastern Europe with the Massachusetts National Guard, got a closer look at the puppy on a cold November day and noticed it was injured.

“I noticed a puncture wound on her head,” said Kingsley, 29, who adopted the dog. “When she picked her up and put her in her arms, she could tell she wasn’t feeling well.

Kingsley said he held the small black dog and fed it chicken food before heading to the only veterinarian in the area.

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“I knew she didn’t belong to anyone because the animal shelter closed down the street and released all the dogs on the street,” he said.

Many of the puppies found their way to the base, attracted by the smell of food.

The veterinarian told Kingsley that the puppy had a severe infection, but that it was treatable. The dog, which Kingsley named Puma, remained at the base after being given antibiotics and followed him everywhere.

“She was really small, only about 6 months old,” he said. “I didn’t want her back on her streets and there were already a lot of stray dogs at her base.

Kingsley liked the dog so much that he told his mother and sister in the United States that he wanted to take the puma home with him when he finishes his prison term in March. He said they did some research and learned that the Paws of War organization might be able to help.

The Long Island-based nonprofit is one of the few in the U.S. that pairs stray dogs and cats with service members who have formed relationships with them while deployed overseas.

Kingsley said volunteers near the military base offered to foster the mountain lion for the remainder of his tour of duty in Kosovo, as dogs were not allowed in the barracks. Paws of War then paid for the pup to be flown to Kingsley in the United States after receiving all its vaccinations.

“It meant everything to me,” Kingsley said. “She didn’t want me to abandon her somewhere and die.

Paws of War is currently working to rescue 18 more dogs and three cats from Kosovo before the soldiers in their care return home. The organization recently paired members of the Indiana National Guard with a dog they met in Kenya, local newspaper The Republic reported.

“This is a huge undertaking. All the animals have to be quarantined, vaccinated and cleared to leave the country,” said Robert Miceli, co-founder and president of Paws of War. . “But we are determined to bring them all home.

“When you’re in the military, the process is complicated because you can only leave with what you brought with you and what was sent from home,” he explains.

Nick Kingsley at home in Rhode Island with Puma after reuniting this month.
Nick Kingsley at home in Rhode Island with Puma after reuniting this month. ©Lisa Kingsley

Because stray pets are not military animals, it is against Department of Defense policy for soldiers to keep military animals, adopt them overseas or transport them on military aircraft, Miceli said.

But stray dogs and cats often end up on bases overseas, where military personnel feed and bond with them, he said. The animals then return to the base again and again in search of food and comfort.

“Soldiers fell in love with animals and found themselves socializing with them in remote areas far from home,” Miceli said.

For some soldiers, stray animals can become their best friends, Miceli said.

“If soldiers fall in love with a stray dog ​​or cat and cannot take the animal home, they have to say goodbye to it,” he added. “It leaves a big hole in their hearts.”

“Bringing a dog home is more difficult than people think,” Kingsley says. “In the military, you can’t just fill out an application online and send your dog home. There’s also a lot of administrative work, and it costs money. It can be overwhelming.”

Earlier this year, volunteers helped transport five dogs from a remote military base in Kenya for Paw of War.
Earlier this year, volunteers helped transport five dogs from a remote military base in Kenya for Paw of War. © Pose of War

Since 2014, Paws of War has used donations to match about 600 pets to soldiers, at a cost of between $7,500 and $10,000 each, Miceli said. The charity also rescues dogs from shelters across the country and trains them to be companions to veterans.

Shipping pets from remote locations overseas is expensive, and all animals require veterinary care and vaccinations. Once the animal arrives in the United States, Paws of War will pay for his 28-day quarantine to ensure there are no medical issues.

About 80 percent of the time, Miceli said, Paws of War arranges for the animals to be returned to other families or foster homes on commercial airlines before the soldier’s mission ends. .

When that’s not possible, such as when a soldier is suddenly transferred to another country, Paws of War sends volunteers to locate and care for the animal and attempt to reunite it with the soldier.

“I don’t want to give myself credit, but we always find them,” Miceli said. “We try not to leave without a cat or dog.

Earlier this year, Paws of War sent volunteers to a remote military base in Kenya, where they found five abandoned dogs and brought them to the soldiers who were caring for them, he said. said.

“We put local people on fishing boats and used wheelbarrows and small donkeys to take the animals out,” he said. “The people who had to stay in this harsh area became desperate and asked us for help. The dogs gave them comfort and a sense of normalcy during this difficult time. Ta.

That’s how Daniel Rueda developed a relationship with a stray cat named Jack while stationed in Kosovo with his Army Ranger National Guard unit.

“One day I met Jack, who showed up at the base while I was having lunch,” Rueda, 33, said. She said, “Although animals were not allowed on the base, stray dogs were coming in and out of the main gate.

wheel mitt jack.
wheel mitt jack. ©Daniel Rueda

Jack strutted around the barracks as if he owned everything, he said, and everyone loved him, including the sergeant.

“Jack came in when I was on base for three months with an injury,” Rueda said. “He helped me not get bored and we had fun playing together and feeding him grilled chicken.”

Rueda said she quickly bonded with the playful black cat.

“Every time he showed up, I was happy to see him,” he said. “It got to the point where people would say, ‘Your cat is looking for you.’ He’s out in the hallway.”

Jack was transported to the United States by Paws of War and placed in isolation. On April 20th, volunteers picked up the cat and took it to Rueda, Rhode Island.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him there and not knowing what happened to him,” he said, noting that pets can help service members mentally and physically.

“Right now Jack is at my house, checking everything out and he’s happy,” Rueda said. “And he gained probably two pounds eating chicken.

About the author

kathy free I’m a reporter who specializes in articles about humanity. Since 2018, she has contributed to the “Inspired Life” section of the Washington Post.

We are currently testing machine translation. This article has been automatically translated from English to German.

This article was first published in English on Washingtonpost.com on April 29, 2024. Currently, as part of the cooperation, translated versions are also available to readers of the IPPEN.MEDIA portal.



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