When you’re a long way from home, having a furry friend by your side can really boost morale.
Patrick Brady of Long Island, New York, was serving in the U.S. Army in the country of Georgia when he heard someone say, “There’s a puppy outside.”
Curious, Patrick took a break from reviewing an inventory list and headed outside to investigate. There, sitting on the dusty road, was a fluffy white and tan puppy. “I just fell in love with her right away,” he told Today.
Patrick started to care for the dog, feeding her from his own rations and taking her to a vet to get vaccinated and cleaned up. He named her Marshmallow, and she quickly became a popular snuggle buddy for Patrick and his fellow troops. But a week after she first arrived, she disappeared for several days. Patrick feared he would never see his new companion again, but luckily she returned a few days later.
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“I guess she liked where she was on the base so she came back to us, thank God,” Patrick said. “She was completely filthy — covered in mud — which was probably foreshadowing because later on, I found out she just loved to get dirty whenever she possibly could.”
When it was almost time for Patrick to leave Georgia and go back to New York, he knew he couldn’t leave Marshmallow behind. So he contacted SPCA International, whose Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide program helped him make arrangements to fly Marshmallow home at the end of his deployment.
Getting the pup across an ocean didn’t go smoothly. Not only did Patrick have to jump through several hoops, but when they arrived at the airport, he also discovered that Marshmallow’s crate wasn’t quite up to snuff. After a frantic scramble and several hasty calls by SPCA International on his behalf, Patrick was finally cleared to use zip ties instead of a specific kind of plastic screw to secure her carrier.
When Patrick was notified that Marshmallow was finally on the plane, both he and the rescue worker were overwhelmed by their emotions.
“As uncharacteristic as it might sound, we both broke down and started to cry a little bit because it was so stressful,” he explained. “After all these months of uncertainty and everything, finally just seeing her board the plane, I couldn’t explain the kind of feeling that I had. It was just the happiest feeling.”
While Patrick spent his COVID-19 quarantine period on a military base in North Carolina, Marshmallow went to his parents’ house to wait for him. She fit right in with their family, including Bear, their adorable dog.
These days, Marshmallow spends her time parked on Patrick’s couch or playing outside. As for Patrick, he feels a debt of gratitude to the rescue organizations that helped him navigate the system so he could bring his best friend home with him — and give her the life she deserves!
“She just seems very happy all the time,” he said. “SPCA International is an amazing organization with amazing people.”
Marshmallow has to be the best “souvenir” ever! It’s nice to know nonprofits like these exist to reunite our hardworking soldiers with their sweet best friends!
Share this story to welcome Marshmallow home.
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