If you’ve ever seen veterans being reunited with their families after tours overseas, either in a video or in person, you know that these reunions are truly emotionally moving spectacles. Another kind of reunion, one that happens much less frequently, but with no less joy, does exist. For Staff Sergeant Kevin Brady, an Army National Guardsman, this special event took place on a very fitting day.
On July 4th, SSG Brady got to see his best friend from his recent tour in Afghanistan for the first time in two months. His companion, who was with him and his unit for much of their time in Afghanistan, is Bailey, an Anatolian shepherd mix.
The dog had originally been following around an Afghani army unit, but quickly became more attached to the American unit of which Brady was a part.
Brady, who recently finished his second tour, said [Bailey] provided comfort to soldiers who were away from their kids, families and pets.
How awesome is that? These guys were overseas, fighting for our freedom, living without the amenities we’re used to having here, they were away from their families, and this dog was able to boost their morale during what were surely trying times.
Sadly, when Brady’s unit redeployed stateside, they were unable to bring Bailey back. Obviously, this was very hard for both SSG Brady and Bailey. Of course, while this is sad, you have to understand that the military can’t really take dogs back from war zones. It’s not their job, nor is it their priority. The military’s logistical prowess is used for moving men and materiel to and from the battlefield in order to support the mission at hand, and sadly, that usually means dogs found overseas must be left behind.
Fortunately, an organization called Guardians of Rescue was able to intervene. In only nine days, Guardians of Rescue was able to raise $5,000 in order to send Bailey back to SSG Brady. With the assistance of Nowzad, a dog rescue organization in Afghanistan, Bailey was able to get vaccinations, get spayed, and sent to a stopover point at a kennel in Dubai.
After that quick stop, she was shipped to JFK International Airport in New York. From there, the co-founder of Guardians of Rescue, Dori Scofield, picked up Bailey from the airport’s cargo area on July 2nd.
Two days later, on Independence Day, Bailey and Brady were reunited. SSG Brady, a sheriff’s deputy in Placer County, California, picked up Bailey and brought her across the country to her new home she’ll share with the him and his two sons.
If that story doesn’t get you going, I don’t know what will. Maybe seeing the video of their reunion will do the trick.
[via Times Beacon Record]