Ratchet touches down on U.S. soil
Decked out in a red, white and blue bandanna, a once homeless Iraqi mutt named Ratchet jumped out of his crate and wagged his tail at the airport Monday, three flights and two days after his much-postponed departure from Iraq.
Discovered by Army Spc. Gwen Beberg and fellow soldiers in a burning trash pile on the streets of Baghdad, Ratchet was taken in by Beberg, whose efforts to have him shipped home led to the dog being confiscated by U.S. military officials.
Later, the Army relented — its rules forbid soldiers bringing dogs home from foreign lands — and Ratchet was placed aboard a flight to Kuwait, another to Amsterdam, then another to Washington.
He will spend two nights in a kennel before flying to Minneapolis, where Beberg’s parents will pick him up. Beberg is scheduled to return home next month, the Associated Press reported. Northwest Airlines is donating the flight to Minnesota.
“I’m very excited that Ratchet will be waiting for me when I get home from Iraq! Words can’t describe it,” Beberg said in an e-mail to friends and family. “I hope that Ratchet’s story will inspire people to continue the efforts to bring more service members’ animals home from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The dog was rescued by Operation Baghdad Pups, run by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International. The group, which has now brought 63 animals to the U.S., says the effort both saves dogs and cats and helps soldiers who benefit from the bond with the animals.
Ratchet frolicked on a grassy patch outside the airport before heading off to Clocktower Animal Hospital in Herndon, Va., for a checkup and some shots, where he was pronounced “extremely healthy.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 21st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, army, beberg, flies, flight, gwen beberg, home, iraq, military, minnesota, news, operation baghdad pups, ratchet, rescued, soldier, spca, u.s., war