War zone puppy reunited with Marine
By: Karen Hensel - WISH-TV Channel 8
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A dog that survived the war zone in Afghanistan is safe in Indiana thanks to the U.S. Marines and the love of hundreds of local school children.
"She was a stray and in bad shape, maybe 10-15 pounds. She had been in a couple of fights and was all scarred up," Captain Matt Taylor of Lebanon, Indiana says,
She is a stray puppy who became a lesson in war, life and love for students at Lebanon Middle School who raised money to bring her to the states. The students donated one dollar at a time and raised over $1,000 to help send Alice home to the states.
Captain Taylor and Alice walked into a room of smiles and applause from the students on Friday.
"I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and my Marines hearts because this little girl helped us through some hard times and was a really sweet reminder of what is good and good things that can happen when people like you come together," Taylor told the students.
But the story really begins with Alice and how a foreign four legged friend can break down barriers to find trust even at war.
"She knew a good thing when she saw it I guess. She saw guys in a uniform and knew they would feed her and take care of her. She became attached to my Marines. She wouldn't leave and kept coming around and of course they were feeding her and giving her water and she became a part of the family," Captain Taylor recalls,
She was rescued from sure death by the Marines but in return became a loyal and loving unit mascot for six months. But then came word the Marines were getting a military working dog to help with ied detection so they would have to get rid of her. Rather than turn her back onto the streets they worked to send her back home to the states. The Afghan puppy got her own website. Marines, families and students all donated.
A non-profit based in the UK helped get her from Kabul to Dubai to Indianapolis. The last time Captain Taylor saw her was months ago as he was putting her into a taxi. It would be months before he would see here again, this time in Indiana.
"It was a big leap of faith. A very excited Afghan taxi driver saying I've got this, it's good, I'll drive her 14 hours to Kabul. There's obviously some trepidation there," Captain Taylor reveals.
Trepidation; an interesting word choice when you understand why Captain Taylor has missed the last four Christmases and last four birthdays.
We first met Matt Taylor of Lebanon Indiana thousands of miles from home when 24 Hour News 8's Karen Hensel went to Iraq in 2006. He was stationed in the thick of the war halfway between Balad and Fallujah. He was just a lieutenant then and brand new. But he has "trepidation" for the stray dog who became a battle buddy, bridged barriers and healed wounds. For even tough Marines far from home it was nice to have a dog to come home to.
"It was a nice bit of comfort. You come home and it's hot or cold or you are wet or tired and there is always somebody who is real happy to see you. You're not going to get a hug and a kiss from a Marine when you come back from patrol, but there is always a little girl like this to come up and give you a lick, put her head on her lap and remind you there is something nice in the world too," Captain Taylor says.