It’s hard for some to imagine what life in Afghanistan is like for people, never mind dogs. In a land where there are often treated like vermin, used for dog fighting and harassed and tortured, not many canines have a good life. Thanks to retired lieutenant-commander Albert Wong, who now lives in Toronto, some of those dogs are fortunate enough to be saved and given homes that probably seem like heaven.
Wong was posted to Afghanistan in 2005-06, and when he came back he brought along Wutan, a dog he adopted there. Ever since, he has been helping others to do the same, rescuing street dogs. He calls it the Wutan project. Wutan was a local dog who had been useful as a mine and bomb sniffer. “When we were rotating out, we felt we shouldn’t be leaving him behind,” said Wong.
Wong teamed up with Pam Constable, an American journalist in Afghanistan, and they created an underground railroad to shuttle dogs around the country and to a safe house in Kabul. From there they are flown to Islamabad, Pakistan, for vet checks and shots, and then on to new homes in Britian or the US or Canada. “It’s part of our healing, for both sides, for the animal and the soldiers. It’s a pleasant connection they have with Afghanistan,” said Wong.