Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dogs In Afghanistan: A New Lease on Life

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Rob LoMonaco and Left Eye Shaking Hands

This heart warming story arrived in my email box yesterday afternoon. It touched me deeply when I read about these profound acts of kindness and love in the midst of violence and aggression. I was compelled to post it as it was not only inspiring but at the same time provides animal lovers an opportunity to reach out and help.

Airman Asks for Help Bringing Buddy Home
By: Ann Fisher
The Columbus Dispatch
April 30,2008

Rob LoMonaco
needs donations to bring to the U.S. this dog he befriended and named Left Eye while in Afghanistan
Left eye 
In an e-mail interview that spanned three days and roughly 7,000 miles, I finally had to ask the tough question:  Why should Americans care about a pair of mongrel dogs in Afghanistan?

Hey, you know I'm a sap, but I figured someone out there would ask, so I did it first.

Rob LoMonaco's response was open and kind: Help the dogs that helped them stay sane. And if that doesn't work for you: Help him and a fellow serviceman stay sane when they return by helping them help the dogs.

A New York transplant who now calls Pickerington home, LoMonaco will return to Ohio in September from a one-year tour that included five months in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan.

He was one of 10 U.S. soldiers, airmen and Marines among roughly 100 Afghan national army troops stationed at the base there. Lo-Monaco is in the Air Force, a
team trainer who works with Afghan logistic officers.

He and his American colleagues all grappled with the isolation every day, the long convoys and the overall stress of overseas military service.

LoMonaco also was lucky enough to find a true friend over there, a dog he named Left Eye. Now, he wants to adopt and bring her home but needs our help to pay the roughly $2,500 cost of travel and quarantine.

He met Left Eye when she was just born.

Her mother, D.O.G., already was a favorite among the previous team of Americans, who had trained her for security.

In November, she gave birth to four puppies: two boys and two girls. Afghans adopted the two boys — they don't get pregnant — but left the girls, who eventually attached themselves to the base cooks, one of whom was LoMonaco.

turdeye 
Left Eye with her sibling named "Turd"

"Whether it was training them, or watching them play, they were an excellent way to detox from a 10-hour convoy mission," he told me in an e-mail.

As much as anything, the servicemen admired the mother, who was killed in January by Afghan soldiers as she tried to protect one of the Americans in a tragic misunderstanding.

In February, the next shift took over and gladly took over the care of the two girls, but LoMonaco missed Left Eye, so named for a spot below her left eye. "I quickly realized how attached I was to the dog and felt I had left a friend."

He started looking into the adoption process and learned about Tigger House, a group that will arrange such things for servicemen and women.

But the cost was beyond his reach.

Then he heard that neighborhood children had dangerously taunted the two puppies, which are mongrels and therefore worthless by typical Afghan standards. Wild dogs are common there and often threaten children in the region, LoMonaco said.

He and the soldier back at the base who had taken over care of the pups decided they had to do something. "Both of us did not want to be 'kicking' ourselves when we got home and for the rest of our lives that we did not try."

After reading their story, I felt likewise. Let's help them bring home their buddies.

Visit:  For more information and to view adorable videos

Update: May 4

With the money that has been raised so far the dogs will be moved to Kabul tomorrow! Then, they will move to Pakistan later next week, where they will stay until the end of May.   Updates will follow as they are posted.

These acts of kindness restore my faith in humanity and our ability to really make a difference in the lives of needy animals.

What reaction did you have when you read this story? Leave a comment and let us know.

7 comments:

Vicki said...

What a wonderful story that deeply touched my heart. It is so nice to know that even our service men care about these precious little animals, and are willing to go that extra mile to help them. Great Story!

lj (%) said...

Awwww! Jo, What a beautiful story this is, and I'll be leaving a donation to bring Buddy to the U.S.! Just a very heartwarming story. Thanks for all you do!!

AG said...

One never knows where comfort and a feeling of peace will come from. Even in a time of stress, animals can be a source from which our military people can draw strength and a sense of well being. I hope people will support this cause, and help bring this and possibly other canine companions back to the U.S.A.

donna9331 said...

wow...talking about helping animals that have MORE than helped our servicemen. I hope they're home here in the US with their new owners SOON

Luvbarbaro said...

AW -- That story was so sweet!! I loved it, they are just adorable pups too!!

I'm so happy to hear they are going to make it home safe & sound!!

myantis said...

I originally read the love story of Rob and Left Eye in the Columbus Dispatch. Although touched, my first reaction was with all of the unwanted dogs in America, why would anyone want to go to all that trouble just to bring a dog all that distance. Then I thought of all the animals that have touched my life and realized that the bond between human and animal knows no boundaries. I sent a small donation to the family and they were kind enough to thank me with a note and a photo. I am glad to know that the animals have arrived safely. I'll be much more relieved when Rob is home and they are reunited. I hope to see some story about the final chapter when it occurs.

kneadstoknow said...

Myantis,

I was really moved by your comment. That is so true, that a needy pet, no matter where they are, with a story like this one, really needs help, and I am so glad you stepped up to the plate and contributed to his care.

With all the horrors going on around the world, particularly in this area, it is heart warming to know that folks go out of their way to help those animals.

Jo