The story has a happy ending! Ratchet has been reunited with his owner, Army Specialist Gwen Beberg in Minnesota. Below is a video of Ratchet greeting Gwen upon her arrival in the US.
While serving our country, a US soldier came upon a malnourished, homeless puppy, whom she adopted and named Rachet. She has nursed the dog back to health, and he has grown from a scared little furball into a playful, loving, young dog. She has been stationed in Baghdad for 15 months longer than her initial deployment was supposed to last, and Ratchet is one of the only things during those months that have helped keep her grounded. As you can imagine, there are numerous obstacles to transporting an Iraqi dog back to the states. There is, however, one organization that provides medical care, clearance and transport for the animals U.S. soldiers have come to love during deployment in the Middle East, called Baghdad Pups.
I wish I could report that the story of Ratchet ended with him safely landing in the states to live with the soldier’s parents until she was able to leave Iraq. In fact, Ratchet should be on his way to Minnesota right now; except he is not.
Last Wednesday, the soldier’s commanding officers seized Ratchet as he was on the way to the Baghdad airport, en route to his new home with her parents.
“It is against military regulations for active duty troops to befriend animals”
As if that is not enough, according to the Baghdad Pups Press Release:
“Soldiers can face immediate court-marshal [for befriending animals] and some even see their animals brutally murdered by a direct gunshot to the head from commanding officers who will not bend the rules.”
Rachet was so close, on his way to the airport, ready to start his new life in the States, and now he might be killed. Put to death because some power-hungry officers decided to flex their muscles, and make an example of an innocent animal, because Gwen dared to care about him.
The soldier is now under military investigation for caring about a helpless puppy, something hundreds of other soldiers do in Iraq.
I really thought we had evolved to a point where US military officials were ready to acknowledge the role animals play in boosting morale. Do they not realize pets are used all over the world as an aid to soldiers who suffer from “battle” stress, and are thought by some to be more effective in treating mental trauma than anti depressants.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Email your friends, family, co-workers – everyone on your email list!
If you are in Minnesota, call a Senator. Gwen is a resident of MN, and Ratchet was supposed to be transported there.
Senator Amy Klobuchar:
(888) 224-9043 -or- (612) 727-5220
Senator Norm Coleman:
(800) 642-6041 -or- (651) 645-0323
(or, if you prefer) Candidate Al Franken:
(888) 908-2008 -or- (612) 344-2008
If you’re not in MN, call your senators and representatives as well.
Pass this along to news outlets.
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE for my friend and other soldiers, donate to Baghdad Pups. It can cost over $4000 to bring back a dog or cat to the US, and Baghdad Pups receives 3-4 new requests from soldiers every week. Please help them to continue their mission.