SPCA International has organized the rescue of 47 dogs and cats from Iraq, befriended and adopted by U.S. service members and contractors deployed overseas in the Middle East. Each animal will be reunited with their service member in the U.S. and adopted by their families.
Since COVID-19 grounded flights worldwide and severely restricted international travel, especially from Iraq, many of these animals had been waiting months for their trip. The pets were transported on a flight chartered by SPCA International from Erbil, Iraq, on August 12th and arriving early August 13th at JFK International Airport in New York City. A crew member inspected and oversaw the animals’ health while on board the flight.
SPCA International is leading the project, bringing together Puppy Rescue Mission, Pet Rescue Pilots, Monarch Air Group, and JFK’s The Ark in support of this highly complicated rescue mission.
After comprehensive health inspections and care at JFK’s The Ark facility, the animals will be transported to their new homes with their service member families in locations across the country with the help of Pet Rescue Pilots. Thirty-one of the dogs and cats will be transported to homes with service members coordinated by SPCA International; the additional 16 dogs will be homed with service members by nonprofit Puppy Rescue Mission.
As one pilot waiting for his pup put it so well, “It’s hard to believe that it has been four long months since I last held Toby. I have missed being able to see him daily and watch him grow and bond with me. When he gets home, I can’t wait to take him down to the beach with me and my other dog Roxxie. I know that they will have an amazing time together running free and playing. Our family is very excited to get him home so we can shower him with love and affection.”
Through its rescue program Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide, SPCA International reunites U.S. service members with the dogs and cats they befriend in countries where they’re deployed. Our brave U.S. military members endure long deployments and cope with the harsh realities of the battlefield, as well as loneliness and separation from their families. Local dogs and cats they find and befriend abroad often play a key role in building companionship and bringing them joy in difficult times.
At the end of deployments, soldiers are forced to leave their beloved animals behind – but SPCA International enables these wonderful relationships to carry on by rescuing these animals overseas and reuniting them safely with their service member in America.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg