warhorse-026Jean is back in Germany after her 15-month tour in Iraq.  She sent me the following press release, along with the picture here and this note:

“This is my troop’s dog.  Kindi was 4/2 SCR’s “force protection” dog.  Attached is a pic of him.  I think it’s so wonderful that he got to go to CPT Szmyt’s parents’ house.  I know that it was a very hard process.  We worked on it forever.”

Washington, DC, November 3Operation Baghdad Pups is a SPCA International (www.SPCA.com) initiative created to provide medical care, clearance and transport for animals U.S. soldiers have come to love during deployment in the Middle East. Yesterday, a U.S. soldier’s dog arrived in Connecticut after a long journey from Iraq. Wayne and Susan Szmyt welcomed their son’s dog, Kindi, to their Trumball home this weekend. Kindi arrived in the U.S. at Dulles International Airport Saturday afternoon along with 3 other soldiers’ dogs thanks to SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups program. The Szmyt’s son, Derek, will be returning home from Iraq soon to be reunited with Kindi.

“I know firsthand how much these animals mean to the troops:  a furry bundle that sleeps in a lap when a soldier is overcome by exhaustion; a friend that a soldier can cradle when overcome with grief for a fallen or injured comrade; a buddy that is a playful companion when a soldier is overwhelmed with homesickness,” explains Susan Szmyt.

SPCA International is a non-profit animal welfare organization that has been helping U.S. troops rescue their pets since September 2007.  Operation Baghdad Pups program is run entirely on generous donations from the public. Susan and Wayne Szmyt request donations be made at www.SPCA.com to help more soldiers, like their son, save the animals they love.

Hundreds of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East befriend animals in the war zone to help themselves cope with the hardship and terror they face every day. These dogs and cats become their lifeline – saving them from deep depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The military refuses to help or formally recognize the lifeline these animals give to our mentally wounded soldiers. Veterans returned from Iraq are committing suicide at twice the rate of average Americans.  The dogs and cats befriended by our troops rescued by Operation Baghdad Pups are providing proven pet therapy to soldiers who may otherwise suffer from PTSD and deep depression.

The arrival of Kindi is one of the success stories of OBP. Let us continue our support for them so that they can rescue more dogs and help more soldiers like Derek Smzyt and Gwen Beberg. Kudos to everyone who made the effort in making this heartwarming story known.

Here is the official site of Baghdad Pups:http://baghdadpups.com/