When is the last time you had a good cry? Did you have your dog beside you while you did it? Then grab the tissues, because you're about to get all blubbery when you hear how a soldier was reunited with the puppy he rescued while serving our country in Afghanistan.
Tom Burright saw a lot of homeless, sick, and starving dogs in the streets while he was deployed, and when he spotted a little ball of fur out there, he knew he couldn't leave her to die. He brought Lyla back to the base, and you know what happened next.
She became his best friend and morale booster for the whole bunch of guys.
Not surprising to anyone who has ever owned a dog, really. They aren't called man's best friend for nothing. Dogs give us something people can't; soft ears to dry our tears, and unconditional love no matter HOW hard the day has been.
For men and women in the armed forces, the bond is particularly close. A dog will often serve as their family and best friend both while they're far from home. The bond they form is unbreakable.
As Marine Jay Kopelman explained in his 2008 memoir, From Baghdad With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava:
... I really like what I am -- a Marine. I like being strong. I like being brave. I like going in first. I want to go in first, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone shoot my puppy.
So imagine forming that bond with an animal ... and then having to leave them behind when your deployment is up. It's unthinkable, right?
Tom Burright's little Lyla saved his soul in a warzone, and he wanted to save her, he wanted to bring her home. But he was helpless. He makes a military salary. He didn't have $4,000 to cover the expenses of bringing her home.
I haven't been in war, but I do have a dog, and the only thing I can relate to is the feeling of watching my beloved boxer/hound mix as she ages. She has stood by my side for 10 years, propped me up when I was down. She has saved me, and I am helpless to do much to help her with her cataracts and her arthritis save for take her to the vet and shell out large sums for the best treatment I can.
So now the part that will make you cry. The Internet stepped up. The Puppy Rescue Mission, a non-profit that works to reunited soldiers and their beloved pups, heard about his plight and got it out to caring people who understand the relationship between man and beast. People gave money. Lyla just today made it to Texas, to the loving arms of her soldier.
She's been saved! Check this little girl out:
What is your relationship with your dog? Have they saved you?
Image via Tom Burright