During a mission in Afghanistan, their Special Forces team came across an IED buried in a road. As the soldiers dismounted from their vehicles to clear the area and the IED, the two puppies ran up to them.
One soldier thought they looked like dirty little bear cubs. Since the soldiers didn’t want them to accidently set off the explosive device, the Joint Terminal Attack Controller, kept them company while other soldiers helped take care of the improvised bomb.
When the area was clear, all the soldiers got into their vehicles and started back to camp. Then the soldier (who was to become Riley’s soldier) looked back, behind the vehicle, and there were the puppies – racing after them as fast as they could run!
Luckily for Riley and Ashley, most of the soldiers on the Team were dog lovers. They decided they couldn’t leave these puppies behind.
They stopped and a villager approached and told them he would give them the puppies because he was worried they would not survive with all of the IED's around. The soldiers gladly took them back to their small base where they cared for them for about a month.
They named one Riley (the puppy with the dark muzzle) and the other Ashley (the puppy with the white muzzle).
Riley really took a liking to the JTAC who had originally watched her. She would follow him everywhere around the camp. And Ashley bonded to another soldier.
Both the puppies liked going in the movie room with the soldiers and playing while they watched their nightly movies.
Ashley also became something of a guardian of the camp and showed great protective instincts. Like Riley, she would follow her soldier around all day while he performed his duties.
Then it became time for the camp to close down.
Ashley’s solder said, “Leaving two domesticated puppies behind would be cruel.”
Riley’s soldier said,” There was no way I could leave Riley in Afghanistan once I left... the puppies would again have to live in the dangerous countryside.”
Fortunately the soldiers were able to get in contact with NOWZAD and they began to help. After a two day road trip, Riley and Ashley arrived safely at the Nowzad shelter in Kabul. Louise immediately began to care for them; Nowzad and the SAC Fund promoted their rescues; and donations for them soon followed.
Thanks to the generosity of so many, Riley and Ashley were soon on their way to Florida where they were met by Riley’s soldier’s wife and daughter.
At present they live together in Riley’s new home. When both their soldiers return, the sisters will be living separated, but will still have plenty of time together.
In the meantime Florida is offering the puppies new friends, a new family, and new adventures.
Which are lots of fun, but can be exhausting.
Riley’s new “mom” says, “A GIANT thank you from Riley's 'momma' here! They are both amazing girls and learning so quickly. Our 3-year-old is blessed beyond belief as both dogs love to snuggle and chase her. Ashley's soldier will be home soon and we are already planning doggy dates so these girls can still see each other. Thanks again!”