Our soldiers abroad many times find comfort and hope in the four-legged friends they meet in war zones. It is very common to find hurt, hungry street dogs struggling to stay alive in the places American soldiers are deployed to, and even though it is illegal to keep stray dogs as pets in combat zones, our war heroes open their hearts and offer these innocent animals a piece of safety and lots of love.
Tripod is a three-legged Australian shepherd Basenji mix that made friends with Air Force reservists stationed in Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq. Andrew Edtl, who was stationed at this air base told Tripod’s story to Deseret News.
According to Edtl, Tripod lost one of his legs when she was hit by a military vehicle, but fortunately for the stray, an American medic performed emergency surgery on the dog. After that, Tripod made one of the gates at the Air Base his home.
Soldiers offered her food, water, and love whenever the dog was around, and in return, Tripod offered the soldiers unconditional friendship. The dog would even ‘protect’ the soldiers by barking whenever Iraqis approached the gate.
Because keeping a pet in combat zones is illegal, soon Tripod became a victim of Entomology – the base pest and animal control personnel – who wanted her removed from the base. The soldiers knew they couldn’t do anything to fight Entomology but an area commander told animal control they were not allowed to kill Tripod in front of the gate personnel. They would have to trap the dog, move her to another location, and destroy her there.
Tripod was a smart dog and even though Entomology placed traps, the dog never went in them. The canine also avoided animal control and never came close to them, steering clear of being captured.
Edtl grew attached to his three-legged friend and knew he needed to do something to spare Tripod from a death by bullet. He contacted SPCA International, an organization that brings Iraqi dogs that befriended American forces back to the United States, and they agreed to pick up Tripod along other area dogs and transport them back to America.
After overcoming other hurdles, Tripod was safely captured and prepped for travel. She flew to Washington, D.C., where SPCA International cared for her for two weeks. She then flew to Phoenix and was fostered by a dog sitter until Edtl came back from Iraq.
Tripod’s life in Iraq was a free life where she roamed the streets and came and went as she pleased. Life in America for her was a bit more limited and Edtl couldn’t provide her with a living situation where she had the space to roam. This is why Edtl only kept her for a few months. He worked with an adoption agency to find Tripod a more suitable home.
It is incredible how our soldiers put their lives at risk defending freedom. They not only fight for our freedom but also for the freedom of many oppressed world citizens. What amazes animal lovers around the world is that soldiers go to the most unsafe places on Earth, and even there, they find the time to love and to save defenseless animals that have become other causalities of war.
“While wild animals pose a significant threat to American forces, their effect on morale and security should also be taken into account,” Edtl told Deseret News. “There are many amazing stories of these native dogs fighting side by side with American forces and impacting their lives forever. Let us not forget these incredible four-, or three-legged, friends.”
Read the entire story and check out more pictures of Tripod at Deseret News.