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Soldiers' Animal Companions Fund

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Solha
Because of the wonderful blog Solha’s soldier’s wife, Jessie Knadler, has maintained, we have been able to give a great account of Solha’s road to rescue. For ongoing details of her new life in Virginia – and great entertainment – please check Jessie’s blog Rurally Screwed.

We are also pleased to tell you that the names of all our May donors will be entered in a raffle and the winner will receive a copy of Jessie’s recently published book by the same title: Rurally Screwed.
 
 
Solha’s story:
In July of 2011 a small puppy wandered onto the compound where Jessie’s husband Jake, was stationed. As Jessie describes, the puppy was “looking very flea-bitten and hopeless and ragged.”
Jake and the other soldiers nursed her back to health and initially began calling her “Squealer” because that was the sound she made whenever separated from any of them.
It didn’t take long for Jake to become just as attached to her.
This from Jessie’s blog:
Squealer gave the guys quite the scare the other night when she escaped from her pen into inhospitable terrain inhabited by packs of wild, snarling dogs who would probably view her as a 20-pack of Chicken McNuggets with extra BBQ sauce. By the time they realized she was gone the next morning, Jake was frantic looking for her. He, another soldier and Jake’s terp took off on four-wheelers in search of her. Jake eventually found her meandering around the mine detection lane next door.” Whether that means land mines were actually being detected down said lane or it was an area where mine detecting equipment was stored is unclear. Whatever the case, Jake was extremely relieved as he scooped the puppy onto his four-wheeler and brought her back to the base where he spent the rest of the morning finalizing a new dog house and enclosed run featuring plenty of shelter and shade from the sun and elements.

By August Squealer had become Solha, which means “peace” in Dari, and was already showing she was destined for an adventurous life.
 

There was the snake bite..

From Jessie’s blog:
Solha was attacked the other night by what appears to have been a pit viper, a venomous snake. When the soldiers found little Solha in the morning, her paw and leg were swollen and she didn’t want to move. Jake and the guys iced it a few times but her condition quickly worsened. Jake asked one of the other Reservists, a vet in the civilian world, to take a look at the wound. The vet was able to scrounge up some medicine, bandages, and an IV for her. He lanced the bite wound. Solha started feeling better, which gave Jake confidence she would make it another day, but today her condition appears to have worsened. As Jake said in an email, “Her little body is having a hard time producing red blood cells to fight the venom. Please say a prayer for her. We are doing what we can but she’s so little and the snake is very deadly.

Fortunately Solha made a full recovery and was able to “help with construction of new office space on the base.

 
Then came the great escapes.

From Jessie’s blog in January 2012:
I’m beginning to think this dog is part Houdini, part Genghis Khan.
Solha escaped from her enclosure again.
This marks her third break for it.

The first time she broke out, she was gone a week and a half before an Indian mechanic and casual acquaintance of Jake’s just happened to spot her rummaging through garbage a half mile from Jake’s base. She was returned to safety — then busted out again, the very next day.

Lest you think Jake is trying to restrain his dog with dental floss, know that he and his soldiers built a sizable, comfy dog run just for her, enclosed by an 8-foot high chain link fence replete with a large dog house and all kinds of chew toys.

Unfortunately Solha’s last escape came just when she was to be transported to the Nowzad shelter to begin her journey home.

From Jessie’s blog:
Solha escaped from her pen right before she was scheduled to ship out.
Jake went to fetch her one morning and she was gone. Gone again. Gone for the fourth (or fifth) time?...

Saturday, the day her plane was scheduled to leave, came and went. Jake spent the day hanging around the depot, cleaning her shipping crate, making it look brand new, looking out for a little dog to come bounding his way. There was no sign of her. He said he couldn’t talk about it. Food held little appeal. …

And then I received an email from Jake this morning, saying that he found her. A miracle. It was a short email. Only a few sentences. He said he found her covered in cuts and bruises, like she’d been attacked. She’s stiff and in pain from her injuries, and has been prescribed Amoxicillin.

The rescue agency seemed unfazed by all of this — her escape, her recovery; business as usual in Afghanistan. They indicated they might be able to put her on a future flight. In the meantime, Jake said he’s going to try to keep her in his room at night until it’s time for her to go. “It’ll be a miracle if this dog makes it home,” he wrote.

Finally – another day, another flight and Solha was on her way to Nowzad’s shelter in Kabul.

After a short stay at the Nowzad shelter in Kabul, Solha was reay for the final leg of her journey.

In early April Solha made it home to her Jessie and her daughter June in Virginia.

In another day or so Jake arrived home as well. The best homecoming ever!

Now Solha enjoys the green grass of Virginia with her new “sister” June.

Remember you can read about Solha’s continuing adventures in her new world on Jessie’s blog www.rurallyscrewed.com