After surgery and a tiring drive from New York City to Fuquay-Varina, a mutt from Afghanistan named Rommel snuggled on the sofa with his long-lost savior this week.
That savior – a Fort Bragg U.S. Army Elite Special Forces sergeant – rescued Rommel and his brother, Blitz, in Afghanistan. He had not seen the dogs for four months.
Rommel and Blitz, now about 8 months old, trotted around a suburban Fuquay-Varina backyard Wednesday sporting patriotic bandanas and experiencing green grass for the first time. Thin and rowdy, the dogs nuzzled up to any new person and growled playfully at each other.
The Special Forces unit intervened in Afghanistan last winter when they saw some Afghan men shooting at something on the ground.
“The corpse of a dog on the ground had a litter of puppies no more than a week old, and they weren’t just shooting the mother but also shooting the pups,” said the sergeant, who cannot be named for security reasons.
The unit brought the two surviving puppies – Blitz, a light brindle, and Rommel, a brown, black and white thick-haired pup – to their base in Afghanistan. The soldiers raised the brothers on the base.
Separating from the dogs when the unit returned to Bragg this spring was difficult, so members sought help from Rachael’s Rescue, a Cary animal rescue group.
Overwhelmed by logistics and cost, founder Rachael Polmanteer got aid from the national organization Guardians of Rescue.