When Zack McEntire, a U.S. Army specialist from Aledo,Texas found a puppy in a 50-foot garbage burn pit filled with medical waste in Afghanistan, it would prove to be a lifesaver for both man and dog. Without a second thought, McEntire climbed in to the pit to save the puppy, and the two became inseparable.
Mimi, an Afghan hound, will permanently live in the U.S. with McEntire, thanks to the assistance of Paws of War and the generousity of the people who donated money to pay for the cost of transporting her.
Paws of War is a nonprofit organization based in Long Island, N.Y., that helps soldiers who want to return home with their dogs. The organization also trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD.
The price tag to bring Mimi to her new home is around $6,000 for the flight, quarantine and veterinary expenses.
“Zack’s mom reached out to us,” said Robert Misseri, a co-founder of Paws of War. “Zack was concerned that he would have to leave Mimi behind, and it would have weighed heavily on his heart. Zack is a big animal lover. I said, ‘We are prepared to help you.’ ”
Mimi will spend 30 days in a quarantine shelter getting shots and veterinary care before her flight. Paws of War has a partnership with Nowzad Dogs in Afghanistan, a non-profit started by a British officer to care for the animals rescued by soldiers.
“I can’t imagine leaving her behind,” McEntire said. “We belong together and it means a lot to me to be able to take her home to Texas with me.”