Throughout the 20-year war in Afghanistan, the military has depended on the help of thousands of military working dogs to help them keep safe and make their operations easier. These dogs were trained to detect explosives, find contraband drugs, search missing comrades, and conduct security operations at various villages.
These dogs also serve as therapy dogs, service dogs, companion dogs for the soldiers stationed there, and a lot of them got injured and some died serving the military. The dogs share the same kind of risk that their handlers experience on the battlefield.
As President Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops in Afghanistan, a lot of service members have requested animals to be moved out of the country as soon as possible.
Michelle Smith, executive director of Puppy Rescue Mission, said, “there is often a rush to move animals out when the bases close.” She added, “the guys who are shutting down that location don’t want to leave the animals behind that they’ve been feeding and caring for.” She noted that there is always an increase in rescue dogs every time a base or camp is shut down as it happened in 2014 when troops were being withdrawn.
Staff Sgt. Katie Catania, who worked in Kandahar Airfield and left Afghanistan early in 2021, is one such service member who decided to adopt the two dogs whom she fell in love with while stationed there.
Sgt. Catania said, “If I could give these dogs a better life than just leaving them there in Afghanistan with an unknown future, then I was going to try.” She reunited with the dogs recently and wanted to bring the dogs along with her to Utah. She also said,” I’d really like to take them out hiking and exploring and just spoil them.”