No Dog Gets Left Behind: Reuniting Service Members who Bonded with Stray Dogs

Perhaps because it reminds them of home or a childhood pet, deployed service members often develop a deep bond with the stray dogs they meet overseas.

Deployed service members can find themselves during a range of situations. Some face life-threatening decisions every single day, while others effect endless days of severe boredom. Some are firing rifles, others are turning wrenches, Wait. Food is being prepared to maintain the rest. All have stressors, and that they must find ways to form it through.

It’s common for all of those people to return across local wildlife in a method or another, especially stray dogs. Perhaps because it reminds them of home, or a childhood pet, deployed service members often develop a deep bond with a stray. When the deployment is over, it is usually heartbreaking for the service staff to take their dog away. Many of those foreign countries aren't kind to stray animals, especially in war zones. Developing a relationship with a dog only to fly home and leave them in harm’s way finishes up becoming another profound burden on the military member’s shoulders.

Members of the deployed army often keep in touch with the stray dogs they encounter overseas. Photo courtesy of No Dog Gets Left Behind.

In response, several non-profit organizations were created to request the care of these animals and reunite them with our soldiers, sailors, pilots, or Marines in the United States.Marine. The method of reuniting a dog is long and sophisticated — it involves a series of quarantines, vaccinations, various modes of international transportation, and, of course, tons of cash .

No Dog Gets Left behind (NDGLB) may be a non-profit organization that has stepped up its attention to the funding part of the method.

“[Our primary mission is to] enrich the lives of our soldiers, who have done such a lot for our country, by helping to reunite them with the stray dogs that they rescued while deployed to war zones,” said Trish Gohl, the founding father of NDGLB, during a recent interview with Coffee or Die. “We strive to teach the general public on the therapeutic benefits these stray dogs provide for our soldiers while deployed and while adjusting to life back here within the USA.”

As an employee of Gohl and No Dog Gets Left Behind began to understand the positive impact these animals were having on the service members coming back from deployment, they saw another opportunity to assist. They started the Strays for Soldiers program, where NDGLB “partners with shelters to hide the adoption fee for qualified active military and veterans who provides a forever home to a shelter pet.”

The organization consists solely of volunteers, and it's seen significant success despite their limited resources. “As an all-volunteer charity, we've successfully reunited 80 dogs with their soldiers here within the USA,” said Gohl, “and we've sponsored the adoption fees for quite 200 veterans who adopted a shelter dog or cat. I think we've played a little part in enriching the lives of these who have given such a lot to our country.”

“In 2018, we raised money to reunite a dog named Finn from Afghanistan together with his soldier, ‘Soldier Mac’ (we were asked to not disclose his name),” said Steve Berman, the Director of Fundraising for NDGLB. “The local Afghanis had abused Finn, isolating his ears and tail, trying to show him into a fighting dog. When he wouldn’t fight, they stoned Finn. Only a horrible life. Finn avoided the locals, but chose soldier Mike, and they immediately established contact.bonded. Together with his tour coming to an end, Soldier Mac wrote to us, posing for our help to urge Finn home.

“He said, ‘I want to offer him a home where he’ll never need to be afraid or go hungry again and he knows he’s loved.’ Our 2018 Fall Ball fundraiser raised enough money to bring Finn — and 4 other dogs — home. Finn’s now living the high life with Soldier M within the U.S. that creates it all worthwhile.” Soldier Mac and Finn. Photo courtesy of No Dog Gets Left Behind.

NDGLB organizes fundraising events twice a year. Dozens of reunions have been purchased for these evenings, and NDGLB usually checks for new sponsors and supporters. Their event has enjoyed guest speakers like sergeant first class Matt Eversmann (retired); Dave “Boon” Benton, U.S. United States Marine Corps (retired); and Colonel Tom Manion, U.S. United States Marine Corps (retired) of the Travis Manion Foundation.

“There may be a lot of competition for dollars, including over 40,000 veteran service organizations and countless animal-welfare-related organizations,” Berman said, describing a number of the obstacles they face. “We stand at the intersection of these two causes and wish to raised inform people the importance and depth of bond that's formed between our troops and therefore the dogs they rescue from war zones while deployed. I actually believe that NDGLB may be a special organization that does what it does for all legitimate reasons. I hope that more and more companies and other people will join us on our mission and help support the cause.”

At the guts of NDGLB’s mission is that the bond between the service member and then the dog. Gore shared a comment from a soldier who met his dog Lucy in Afghanistan:

“Lucy has found her way into my heart in differently, how that she couldn't have planned. This was my first deployment following the birth of my son. ItIt is always difficult to leave my wife, but it turns out that this deployment matches my emotional resilience. I even have missed my son tremendously. While she could never fill the void in my heart at leaving family, Lucy, my ‘Sweet Girl,’ has been a godsend, helping me to assuage a number of the pain at being separated from family, providing companionship in loneliness, gratitude to kindness, and a cheerful, wagging tail in the least times.”

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