Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stray Iraqi Dogs Protect Soldiers. Big Bad Collars.

There is a phenomena that has apparently occurred in both Iraq and Afghanistan of stray dogs following American soldiers and becoming staunchly loyal to them.

Under Islamic beliefs, dogs are considered "unclean" and by religious law may not be kept as pets, only for work.  The laws prevent cruelty to animals but also prevent the social bond our culture has with dogs.  The degree of the laws are argued by both Sunni and Shia leadership, but both retain the fundamental distance.

Soldiers befriend, feed, play with and are generally kind to the strays and the strays have come to be fiercely and defensively loyal to the troops.  Sometimes, like the dogs in the video, guarding all soldiers, other times sticking with specific units or soldiers.

Of course many of our soldiers have become fiercely loyal to those dogs.  The Military Channel did a documentary on some of these relationships and the efforts that the international SPCA made to create a formal rescue effort to bring the dogs home for the soldiers.

To be continued...(but I warn, though wrought with stories of happy endings, it makes you very teary eyed too...)

PS  To punctuate how important dogs are to us, they show us how important we are to them!  I love this video of the sweetest homecoming.  It actually went viral at the time it was posted:

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