One of the blogs I follow alerted me this morning to a situation that had me in tears.
The picture to the left is Ratchet and Sgt. Gwen Beberg. She and another soldier rescued Ratchet when he was just a puppy, flea-bitten, starving and huddled under a blanket. Sgt. Beberg wants to return home with Ratchet, but apparently regulations strictly forbid soldiers befriending dogs while on duty. Operation Baghdad Pups is doing what it can to try and get Ratchet home, following a number of other pups back to the States, but as recently as October 15 - Ratchet did not make today's SPCA International (www.spca.com) flight out of Iraq. Just 30 minutes before SPCA International's rescue expert, Terri Crisp, was to lift off from the Baghdad tarmac, the military finally gave Ratchet clearance to be released from his location at COP Meade. The military's slow response has put him at risk because they did not release him in time for today's flight out of Iraq. 6 other U.S. soldiers' dogs are on their way to safety escorted by Terri Crisp, Operation Baghdad Pups program manager.
October 17 - SPCA International's Operation Baghdad Pups program manager, Terri Crisp, boarded a plane bound for the Middle East today for the third time this month. This time Crisp leaves with assurance from the military that Ratchet has the clearance needed to meet her at Baghdad Airport.
So while I'm writing this on October 18th, I'm wondering....where is Ratchet? Who is caring for him?
Now, I don't own a cat, but I kept thinking, cats live in war zones too, what about them? Baghdad Pups is trying to help them too. Here's some of the criteria for an animal to be accepted into the program:
- Animals must be living in either Iraq or Afganistan under the care of a United States military person or a military contract worker.
- Cats or dogs must have been under the age of three months when found, with exceptions being made for older animals.
- Animals must have never bitten a person
- Animals must already have a permenant home to go to in the United States, they cannot go to a shelter in the hopes that they will be adopted.
- Feral animals will not be considered for the program
- Animals cannot show any signs of agression
- Animals that have been regularly tormented, especially by children, require special consideration before being accepted into the program.
If you, like me, think it's time to change the regulations holding Ratchet in Iraq, please, say so. Leave me your thoughts, visit the Baghdad Pups website, write to every Senator, even if you aren't American.
You need only be human to understand why these regulations need to be changed. Visit the Clemency for Ratchet website.