Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Brave War Dogs

Soldiers with puppy Target
Today is Veterans' Day, so it's time for me to write about the subject of dogs and war again.  And the dogs I am going to tell you about today are named Target, Sasha, and Rufus.  These three dogs are different from some of the war dogs I told you about before because they were not specially trained to sniff out bombs or do anything like that.  In fact, they were not even American dogs.  They were just some stray dogs that lived in Afghanistan.

Anyway, what happened was that these three dogs started hanging out around an outpost where there were some U.S. soldiers, and the soldiers made friends with the dogs and fed them some of their rations, because  they didn't have any yummy dog food to feed them.  And the soldiers were lonely and homesick, so it was nice for them to have the dogs around to play with and pet and love on.

Sgt. Duke and Rufus
One of the soldiers was named Sgt. Chris Duke, and he especially liked Rufus.  When Sgt. Duke was on watch, Rufus would stay with him to keep him company.  And when Sgt. Duke was feeling sad, Rufus would try to cheer him up.

Well, then what happened was that on February 22, a suicide bomber from the Taliban tried to sneak into the compound in the middle of the night and kill all the soldiers.  But the three dogs noticed him and started barking a whole bunch, and Rufus bit the man on the leg.  And some of the soldiers didn't know what was going on, so they were yelling at the dogs to shut up.  But then the Taliban guy got the barracks door open and just barely got inside, and because of the dogs, he went ahead and blew himself up before he got any farther.

So of all of the fifty or more soldiers who were there, none of them got killed.  But five of the soldiers, including Sgt. Duke, were wounded with shrapnel and had to go to the hospital in helicopters.  All three of the dogs got wounded, and Sasha was wounded really bad, so she had to be put down, which was very sad.  But the soldiers nursed Rufus and Target until they were well again.  And one of the soldiers who nursed the dogs a lot was Sgt. Terry Young, who was a medic.  Then when Sgt. Duke came back from the hospital, he also helped nurse Rufus.

Anyway, in March a bunch of the soldiers went back home, including Sgt. Duke and Sgt. Young.  They were sad because they thought they would never see Rufus and Target again, and they would never even know what happened to these dogs who had saved their lives.  But then a group called Puppy Rescue Mission heard the story of Rufus and Target, and they worked with some other groups to raise enough money to bring the dogs to the United States.

Sgt. Young, Target, and Oprah
So this story has a happy ending, because in July, the two dogs flew to New York, and after that, they went on to Sgt. Duke's house in Georgia.  Then a little later, Target went to Arizona, where she got adopted by Sgt. Young.  Sgt. Duke already had three dogs and a wife, but Rufus got along fine with all of them.  Both of the dogs got lots of attention in the U.S. because of being heroes and having saved soldiers.  Target even got to go on the Oprah show with her new dad, Sgt. Young.

So anyway, that's the story of three dogs who did something very brave to save their humans during a war.  But the interesting thing is that these dogs were not trained to be military dogs.  They were just ordinary heroes, which lots of dogs turn out to be.  And maybe that's the best kind of hero of all.


  1. I liked this so much I put it on Facebook. Hope you don't mind.
    Aunt Lynn

  2. Dear Aunt Lynn,
    I'm glad you liked my post, and I don't mind at all that you put it on Facebook. Sometimes it's hard to find a happy story about war dogs, but I looked and looked until I found this one!

  3. You haven't read the news today.

  4. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and fantastic style and design.

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    1. Dear Larry,
      Thank you so much for writing to tell me you like my blog! I am afraid I have not been writing very many new entries lately, mainly because I am lazy and my mom has been busy. I will try to do better in the future!
      Dorrie the Chihuahua