Soldiers' hero dogs arrive in U.S.

alt

Chris Chiasson, who is stationed at the same base where soldiers from Bravo 2/121 were when a suicide bomber attempted to blow up their barracks, helped get dogs Rufus and Target home to the United States. He is pictured here with some of the dogs on the base, including Rufus.

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL sarah@newnan.com The dogs who helped stop a suicide bomber at a base in Afghanistan, saving the lives of countless Georgia Army National Guard soldiers, have arrived in the United States. On the night of Feb. 11, 2010, a Taliban insurgent named Mohammad Omar, wearing the uniform of the Afghan Border Police, entered the base.
Several stray dogs hung around the base, and a few had been "adopted" by the soldiers there. When Omar got near the base, three dogs -- Rufus, Sasha and Target -- sensed something was wrong. The three dogs attacked and raised the alarm. Omar detonated his bomb before he could get inside the base. Omar and dog Sasha died in the bombing. Five soldiers were wounded, but none received life threatening injuries. After the bombing, several members of Bravo 2/121, the National Guard unit that is based at Newnan's Jackson-Pless Armory, wanted to find a way to bring the two surviving dogs, and Sasha and Target's puppies, back to the U.S. But the unit returned to Georgia in late March, unable to bring the dogs home. The soldiers that replaced them at the Afghanistan base continued to care for and grow fond of the dogs. One soldier, Chris Chiasson, became particularly fond of the dogs. Stateside, his girlfriend, Anna Canaan, started the Puppy Rescue Mission Facebook page to help raise money to bring the pups home. Also getting involved were Robert's Cause, a nonprofit animal advocacy group, and Nowzad Dogs. Nowzad Dogs is a U.K.-based group that rescues stray and abandoned animals in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rufus arrived in New York, in Manhattan, on Tuesday, according to "The New York Post." He will be heading to Franklin, Ga., where he will live with Sgt. Chris Duke and his wife. Duke, a member of Bravo 2/121, was wounded by shrapnel in the bomb attack. "There isn't a doubt in my mind" that the dogs "saved my life," Duke told the Post. After receiving treatment for his wounds, Duke returned to the base and helped nurse Rufus back to health. Target will live in Phoenix with the Army medic who nursed her back to health after the bombing, according to The Post. - Correction: In the story above it was stated Rufus would be living with Sgt. Chris Duke in Augusta. Duke actually lives in Franklin.

More Local

Another shooting in Newnan leaves two injured

Around 1 a.m. early Saturday, Newnan Police Department responded to a report of shots fired at Rush Foods, a convenience store located on Do ... Read More


Powell found characters from Edgerton’s ‘Egypt’

Anne Powell called her sister, Jane Quinn, and told her she had to read “Walking Across Egypt.” The 1987 novel by Clyde Edgerto ... Read More


Grantville mayor pro-tem

Gomez makes Georgia history

When Grantville Councilman Leonard Gomez was elected to serve as mayor pro-tem, he quietly made Georgia history. The appointment is a signif ... Read More


Newnan’s sole soup kitchen needs help

founder prepares for brain surgery By Sarah Fay Campbell sarah@newnan.com Perpetual Praise Community Resource Center in Newnan has plenty of ... Read More


Newnan Council

Ground floor apartments could be allowed

By Celia Shortt celia@newnan.com Ground level residences could be allowed in downtown Newnan, as the city council will discuss the option at ... Read More

NTH 150th anniversary

Home of early publisher still stands

By W. Winston Skinner winston@newnan.com James A. Welch did not found The Newnan Herald, but he became part of the newspaper’s history ... Read More