When the team that included a soldier (who was to become Ghost’s soldier) arrived at this non-U.S. base, they were told that our NATO allies had a vet who tended to this pack. But they also understood that getting attached to one of these dogs wasn’t something they should do. It may not have been something they should do, but in Ghost’s case it happened.
From Ghost’s soldier:
Ghost was a small puppy when I met him… always greeting me in the mornings outside our small chow hall. At first it didn’t register, but then one day he pushed his way into the gym tent in the wee hours of the morning and after a little playing, lay down and watched me work out; even after his puppy playmates found it boring and left. Over time, as he grew, he would recognize me from a distance and come bounding up, grinning from ear to floppy ear.
Beyond protection, he became my spotter in the gym, my running mate on the extremely small track we had carved out, and an unconditional friend – not just to me, but to my entire team. As he got older, he would take up escorting us as we left the compound to work with the Afghans, just as his mentor Red would do. We called him “‘White Dog” to distance ourselves, but it didn’t work.
We then found out that this camp was to close, and we knew exactly what would happen when it did. These dogs who protected us from the bad guys for years, had passed down their protective behavior from the seniors to the juniors. In a country where drivers won’t transport any animals for Americans lest they be caught and killed by Taliban, this pack was probably going to run into trouble as soon as we left.
I couldn’t save them all; but I tried to save one. Nowzad gave me the opportunity and motivated me to get Ghost out. I know it doesn’t make sense, we have already have animals that need care in the U.S., but I’m a human with emotions….
The bottom line is that they watched over us and he watched over me. Now I have to watch over him.
Ghost was safely transported from the camp to the Nowzad shelter
Thanks to help from donors, he was soon ready to head to his soldier’s home.
Ghost in his crate waiting to go home.
On October 21, 2012 the wife of Ghost’s soldier drove six hours to pick him up and bring him home to his new life in Texas.
This is a message from Ghost’s soldier’s wife:
“When Ghost isn't running around playing tag with his new brother & sister, he is begging to spend extra time just lying and rolling in the grass. It was so cute the first time he walked on it, he kept lifting his paws really high and looking at the grass, next came pouncing, rolling, diving and finally collapsing in joy in the new spongy green stuff.”
Now when his soldier comes home, Ghost will be there to make his homecoming complete. And as he hoped, his soldier will be able to watch over the friend who watched over him.