Imagine for a moment befriending a dog during your most stressful and lonely time, away from family and friends, fighting in a foreign land. Then imagine leaving your canine companion behind when your tour of duty is over.
Pen Farthing, a former British Royal Marine who served in Afghanistan and witnessed firsthand the extraordinary bond forged between soldiers and the dogs they befriended, knows how that feels. While serving in the war torn town of Now Zad in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in 2006, he and several other troop members created a shelter of sorts for the dogs and their puppies the servicemen took under their wings.
And when it was time to leave, Farthing and his comrades found a way to get the dogs to a rescue center in the UK. With that, a movement – and an animal shelter in Afghanistan – was born.
Since 2009, Nowzad Dogs has transported more than 250 dogs to the United States, Canada and the UK. This week, American Airlines announced that it is assisting Nowzad Dogs, PRAI Beauty and American Dog Rescue with reuniting soldiers with the dogs they cared for while on military duty.
“Bringing their pets home to them from overseas is an important way to recognize the sacrifices made by our soldiers, and American Airlines is glad to be able to help make it happen,” said Captain Steve Blankenship, Managing Director – Veterans Initiatives for American Airlines. American Airlines also works with American Corportate Partners to provide a nationwide career mentoring program for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The nonprofit organization, American Dog Rescue, was founded by Arthur Benjamin in 2009 as an all-volunteer group for which he underwrites all administrative costs. Benjamin is passionate about animals and has worked tirelessly to save and expand animal shelters, rescuing abandoned pets in the aftermath of the disasters in Haiti and New Orleans, and closing down puppy mills nationwide. American Dog Rescue, his philanthropic organization for animals, has contributed more than $250,000 to animal welfare in 2011 and $5,000 to Nowzad Dogs in the past month.
Through its philanthropic arm, Beauty with a Cause, PRAI Beauty has provided more than $50,000 of support to Nowzad Dogs over the past three years. Cathy Kangas is a member of the National Council of the Humane Society of the United States and an ardent supporter of animal welfare activities ranging from stopping the Canadian seal hunt to rescuing retired thoroughbreds.
You can learn more here: