By Rachel Shapiro
During their first month deployed in Afghanistan, a group of soldiers from the Alpha Company 1/121 Battalion made friends with an adorable stray pup named Bear. Bear loved hanging out with the soldiers, and the soldiers always brought the dog plenty of tasty treats.
Source: Facebook Video Screenshot
Unfortunately, Bear wasn’t allowed on the base, and so the soldiers took turns bringing food to the dog. Bear almost became like a therapy dog for the soldiers—after a tough day, petting the dog always helped relax the soldiers.
“He’s super sweet and he’ll just lay around and hang out. They just love him, they’ve bonded with him,” Alyssa Bailey, whose boyfriend Chris is part of the Alpha Company 1/121 Battalion, told KSDK News 5.
Source: Alyssa Bailey
In March 2019, the soldiers learned they would be going back home to Georgia in seven months. They would have to leave their beloved Bear behind.
The soldiers quickly decided that they needed to get Bear to the U.S.—they didn’t want to leave their best buddy in Afghanistan.
It’s very expensive to bring a dog back from Afghanistan—it costs around $4,000 to transport the dogs and get the vaccinations they need. The soldiers knew they needed help if they were going to bring Bear home with them.
“Bear has no one out there to take care of him if they can’t take him home,” Bailey said.
The soldiers reached out to Nowzad, an animal rescue group that looks after stray animals in Kabul. The group also helps soldiers who want to adopt dogs. Nowzad quickly agreed to help the soldiers, and they started a fundraising page for Bear. They also used this page to raise money to bring two other dogs to America: Shank and Ducky.
The page quickly attracted lots of attention. Nowzad has raised over $13,000 to help the soldiers transport Bear, Shank, and Ducky to the U.S!
The soldiers still have one big thing to figure out: when Bear gets to America, which soldier is going to take him home?
Alyssa Bailey says that her boyfriend Chris is hoping that he’ll be able to take Bear home.
“(Chris) wants to keep him, but there are other people who want to keep him too,” Bailey said.
But Chris isn’t the only one who wants to give Bear a forever home. Corina Gernatt says her husband is also interested in adopting the dog.
“I’ve heard he’s very loving, and I think he’s kind of old, too,” said Corina Gernatt. “But he sounds just like the sweetest dog.”
The soldiers have seven months to figure out who’s going to bring Bear home—maybe they’ll find a way to share custody of him! Still, though, the most important thing is that the soldiers have successfully raised the money they need to get Bear to America. The soldiers are so happy that Bear is going to the U.S.
Bear is a sweet dog who has brought the soldiers of Alpha Company 1/121 Battalion tons of joy during some difficult times. If you want to learn more about Bear, check out the video above.