February 22nd, 2008 03:00 PM
What A Great Marine! A Different Sort Of Hero.
Dog Saved by Marine Gets Home in US
By CHELSEA J. CARTER,
While on patrol in Iraq last October, Marine Maj. Brian Dennis and his squad got to know a dog who came around and took scraps of food. One night in late December, Dennis found the dog in bad shape. It was bitten, stabbed, nearly freezing and close to death. Dennis treated the dog, whom he called Nubs, and slept with him that night to keep him warm.
Dennis' squad headed to its command post 65 miles away shortly afterward, and he was not allowed to keep the dog. Two days after the squad arrived at the post, so did Nubs -- on his own. Dennis had four days to make arrangements for the dog or be forced to kill him. He worked through red tape to send Nubs to his mother in San Diego.
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 22)
- It began with a simple act of kindness to save an abused, injured dog from becoming one more victim in the Iraq war.
But what followed for Marine Maj. Brian Dennis and the mutt was a tale of friendship and loyalty that spanned miles and overcame long odds - one set to take a turn Friday with the anticipated arrival here of the Marine's best friend.
"This dog who had been through a lifetime of fighting, war, abuse ... is going to live the good life," Dennis told his family in an e-mail from Iraq.
The tale unfolded in October, a few months after Dennis deployed to Iraq from San Diego to work as part of the military team building infrastructure along the Syria-Iraq border and training Iraqi forces to take over.
Dennis, 36, of St. Pete Beach, Fla., had volunteered for the assignment. It was a departure from his role as a fighter pilot. He had seen the country from the air, but it was different on the ground.
Dennis wrote stories home about the reciprocal relationship that desert dogs, strays wandering outside border towns, had with Iraqis.
"The dogs get to eat the Iraqi scraps and have a home in the middle of the desert," he wrote in an e-mail. "The Iraqis get an incredible early warning system; these dogs hear anything approaching from miles away and go nuts and scramble to defend their territory."
While on patrol in the Anbar province, Dennis spotted what appeared to be a gray and white, male German shepherd-border collie mix. He named the dog Nubs after learning someone cut the ears off believing it would make the dog more aggressive and alert.
Within weeks, Nubs was greeting Dennis during routine patrol stops along border communities. The Marines fed him bits of their food and by November, the Marine and his unit were keeping an eye out for the dog, which routinely chased their Humvees when they departed.
Life on the run, however, was taking a toll on the dog. He had lost a tooth and been bitten in the neck. In late December, Dennis found Nubs near death in freezing temperatures.
The dog had been stabbed with a screwdriver.
Dennis rubbed antibiotic cream on the wound and slept with Nubs to keep him warm.
"I really expected when I woke up for watch he would be dead," Dennis wrote. "Somehow he made it through the night."
Dennis thought he had seen the last of the dog days later when his squad headed back to its command post some 65 miles away. He couldn't take the dog with him and watched as it tried to follow the Humvees away from the border.
Two days later, while Dennis and a comrade were working on a Humvee, he looked up and saw the dog staring at him.
"Somehow that crazy damned dog tracked us," he wrote Jan. 9.
But the reunion was short lived. Military policy prohibits having pets in war zones, and Dennis was given four days to get the dog off the base or kill him.
The decision was easy: Nubs was going to San Diego. The logistics, though, were anything but easy.
With help from his Iraqi interpreter, Dennis managed to find a Jordanian veterinarian to get the care and paperwork needed to get the dog to the states. He also negotiated the red tape to get Nubs across the border into Jordan.
His family and close friends helped raise the $3,500 needed to get the dog from Amman, Jordan, to San Diego, said his mother, Marsha Cargo.
"I just can't believe it. Out there in the middle of nowhere these two find each other," Cargo said.
A colleague in San Diego agreed to care for the dog and have it trained until Dennis returns in March from Iraq.
"We anticipate a real steep learning curve for Nubs," Capt. Eric Sjoberg said. "We want him to learn to just be a dog."
For now, though, Dennis will settle for the knowledge that Nubs is finally safe - and waiting for his master to follow him.
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
February 22nd, 2008 03:16 PM
Adotpting abandoned pets is always the best way to go. Nice to hear stories like that from time to time, thanks for sharing :) Abandoned pets that you take in are always going to be more protective than anything (except maybe the highly trained swat dogs)
The part about someone cutting off the ears was a little much. Didn't know Iraq harbored Michael Vick as well as terrorists....
Some people don't deserve saving.
....the water is almost at a boil
February 22nd, 2008 03:21 PM
February 22nd, 2008 03:21 PM
What a great story - glad he was able to get through the red tape.
The most exhilarating thing in life is getting shot at with no results.
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February 22nd, 2008 03:22 PM
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
February 22nd, 2008 04:36 PM
Now I hope that the Major makes it home safe!
Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca
"If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith
"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -Jeff Cooper
February 22nd, 2008 04:40 PM
I love these kinds of stories...now let's get this team back together soon...
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February 22nd, 2008 04:41 PM
Great story, hope all works out for both Nubs and Major Dennis.
February 22nd, 2008 07:54 PM
That was great. Hope they have a great life together.
EOD - Initial success or total failure
February 22nd, 2008 11:53 PM
Rescue dogs are the best, they understand what a second chance is. Dogs are also the best judge of character. A member of our armed forces spends 8% of his annual pay to save a dog?!? This is why the USA is on top of the food chain. The only question is, when dog and man reunite, who rescued who?
February 23rd, 2008 12:10 AM
Well put. I'm hoping for the best for this duo.
Originally Posted by retsupt99
February 23rd, 2008 12:28 AM
This story just really touched me hard for obvious reasons and a few deeper and "not quite so obvious" reasons.
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
February 23rd, 2008 10:11 AM
It's brought a tear to my eye. To see someone step up and do something so generous, especially for an animal.
God protect the Major and bring him home to his newest family member and for ALL of us!
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February 23rd, 2008 11:58 AM
Ain't much in this world that can get between Devil Dogs and their dogs: hand10:...!
"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it."
- Col. Jeff Cooper, USMC
February 23rd, 2008 02:27 PM
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
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