Well this past week has been pretty awesome. The main reason for that is because of a cute little 4 legged friend that I have been able to spend time with again, CHARLIE! Last weekend, I finally was able to make the trip up to Washington DC to reunite with our dog that we had brought back from Iraq. He had been in the States since Feb 14th, and it had been almost a month and a half since I had seen him and was anxiously awaiting this day.
When I finally got to the house and started to go around back to see him, he was already waiting by the fence. I had left Thursday immediatly after work so I was still in my ACUs, and when I got close enough for him to see my face, he stopped, looked up at me and if for a minute he had this look on his face like he couldn't believe what he was seeing. After a couple seconds of him taking it all in, he went crazy! Once I got in through the gate and was able to be next to him, he was SO excited. I had never seen him this excited ever before. He was flying through the air over and over again, to jump on me and lick my furiously. He would run away, then come flying back at me time and time again. It was awesome to see him so excited. I took the time to try and wear him out and we played with many toys in the backyard until he used up all of his energy and I could pet him and hug him like I wanted to. It was very surreal seeing him clean and in America. He was so clean it was unbelivable. The only Charlie I had known was the one that lived outdoors at the outpost and was usually covered in a good amount of dirt and typical Iraqi Muhallah filth. So to see him clean, with his white fur, brillantly white was a shock. But I took it all in and was just so happy to be back with him again.
I ended up staying the night there just outside of DC and the next morning I decided to take Charlie on a walk around all the monuments before we headed back to Ft Bragg. We wern't able to go right up to a few of them, but it was definatly cool to be able to see them and I can only imagine what was going through his head seeing such amazing monuments after most of all he has know was the slums of Baghdad. We had a great time and many people stopped to comment on how cute he was and to pet and play with him. He is amazing with other dogs and other people and he loves all the attention. He also walks perfectly on a leash which is mind boggeling. After a couple hours, we piled in to the car to begin the 6 hour journey back home. For the most part he slept in the back seat, only to get up every rest stop so we could walk around and drink some water.
Once I got back there were several people that immediatly wanted to see him. It was great being able to reunite the guys with our companion, but the greatest reunion came from a guy who was not expecting to see him. Back in October, in a situation that I had blogged slightly about, his platoon was part of a semi-large mission in to the bad Sunni area by our AO durring Ramadan, the largest Muslim holiday, also known for the most violence. He was a part of a dismounted squad that ended up walking in to an ambush, where many of the guys were injuried. He was one of the more severe injuries, and had taken a round through his knee. It was the type of injury that took him out of the game and he had been sent back here to Bragg. So he had no clue that Charlie was coming home or anything and had pretty much expected that he was never going to see him again. It must have been tough because he definatly loved and cared for that dog with the best of us.
I had taken Charlie back to the barracks to reunite with another guy and we were talking about how this guy would be happy to see him and literally at that moment he was walking from the parking lot. I yelled for him to come over and he took one look at Charlie and couldn't belive his eyes. The amazing thing is that after all that time, Charlie remebered him like it was just yesterday and he was acking just as crazy as when I had first seen him in DC. It was awesome seeing how happy the 2 of them were to see each other again and I can only imagine the suprise going through his head to see Charlie, the dog from Iraq, back in America.
Other than that we have been doing pretty good. A lot of people have had the chance to see him and Im sure over time more and more will eventually do so. We are doing great and somehow Charlie is already house-broken. He hasn't had a single incident as far as that goes. He is truly an amazing dog in so many ways and its awesome to have him back again!
For the news, everyone has been waiting for....
CHARLIE IS HOME IN THE USA!!!! He landed on, of all days, Valentines Day! Arrived in Washington DC at Dullus Airport with Terri from the SPCA and Baghdad Pups program to a warm welcoming from many people and even some reprters and news people were there. Haha, Charlie is a celebrity now! Thats awesome lol.
Well he has been living it up for the past few days. He has been walked around DC and seen some of the greatest monuments our country offers. He has been learning and experiencing so many new things, but like the easy going laid back dog he is, he is taking it all in stride. He has been a real angel and lovable dog from what I've been hearing and he's doing well with other animals, people and kids so that is great news. He has had a Doggie Spa visit and a couple vet checkups and he's extremly healthy and doing well. He should be heading out to Phoenix here shortly so I can't wait, and when we arrive back in the states, Terri is going to get Charlie and head out there so he can be waiting for us when we get off the plane! How exciting!
That's about all for now. Eventually whenever I get to a good internet connection, I want to throw up some pictures of Charlie and all that, but that may have to wait until I get back to the states. For now, check out this article at the Washington Post and they have a couple really good pictures of him.Washing Post Article
Ok well, I was hoping to update this a little more frequently with the progress of Charlies jouney but the internet has been HORRIBLE so I will do my best from here out.
So here's what has happened since my last post. A group of contracts had stopped by the outpost and picked up Charlie and took them to their compound by BIAP (Baghdad Internation Airport). From there they watched him for the night and the next day until that next evening when his flight was scheduled. Apparently Charlie was crying and not to happy about being taken at the time, but they said at the compound that he seemed real happy and was doing good there. They were also nice enough to give him a bath before his transport to the Airport.
About an hour or so before his flight, Terri Crisp from the www.SPCA.org
who has been one of many that have put forth many many hours, days, weeks of helping to get Charlie out of Iraq, flew in to BIAP so that she could escort him on his trip back home. That evening the 2 of them boarded a plane bound for Kuwait City. I was so excited to hear the news when I got the email. Once they landed in Kuwait City Airport, there was a 2 hour wait before they finally boarded a plane bound non-stop 13 hours to Dullas Airport in Washington, DC!! At the time of me writing this, they have been on that flight for about 11 hours so here very soon, Charlie will finally be in the USA! Its awesome to think his little paws will touch American soil for the first time on Valentines Day.
So I am totally overwhealmed with happines that Charlie has finally made it out of here. Had you asked me a month 1/2 ago if I though he was going to make it, I would have said no. I of course was still trying everything I could, but I was beging to lose hope after so many options fell through, including the one with an organization that you think would definatly help by the name, Military Mascots. In fact I am quite upset with the lady of that organization as she totally abondonded me in my help with Charlie.
Fortunatly options opened up and Matt of Blackfive
was able to put me in touch with someone that led to a snowball of help that just kept growing and growing in to what has turned out to be a wonderful story. Theres so many people I want to thank that over the past 6 months, have come together and helped in many ways to make this happen. But for the sake of annonimity I will not mention them all at this time, since I have not had their permission. I do want to send out a special thanks to Terri and all the folks of the SPCA Internation
for their help and without them I really don't know if this would of been possible. I have been working with Terri for many months now I can't thank her enough for the time and effort she as well as others have put towards helping. They have even begun a new program called Operation Baghdad Pups
which is geared specifically towards helping other soldiers in similar situations as mine. They have I believe 11 other soldiers and animals that they are trying to help now, but its looking like Charlie is going to be the first sucess story! So thank you again for all your help, I cant express my gratitude enough.
Well I will go ahead and finish this up now, but I will continue to update this as he completes his journey back home. Im stoked, this is AWESOME!
I will definatly update again on this soon as soon as it happens, but as I mentioned in my last post that some pieces had started to fall in to place and lots of them began falling, all in the right places and now, its looking very good that Charlie may begin his journey to the US in just a few days!! I can't believe it, after all these months and so many failed attempts, its finally happening. Again I will keep everyone posted as things happen, but keep your fingers crossed and your prayers coming and hopefully Charlie will be an American soon!
In my last post I had mentioned how Matt of Blackfive
was working an angle to help in getting Charlie out of Iraq. Well today I received an email from a gentleman who is going to help do just that!! There are some little details that need to be hashed out still, but those should be no problem and its finally looking like this is going to be a go and in getting him out! I am so excited to think about the possibility of after all this time things finally coming together. Again, I will keep everyone posted as more develops on this, but just know that things are looking VERY VERY good right now.
I just want to thank everyone who in many ways have given and offered help. The support from so many people has been overwhealming and I just want to let you know how much that means to myself as well as the rest of the guys here. The wheels are churning fast now, and if it wasn't for the support, prayers, advice and help, this would not of happened and I just want you to know how appreciative I am of that. THANK YOU!
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