Army Blocks Soldier From Bringing Puppy Back
HOLLY NOTE: I rarely sign online petitions, but this caught my attention. If you have two minutes, please read Ratchet's story and sign the petition. Be sure to add a personal comment in the space provided on the petition site to give your signature "teeth". It is another way you can thank our soldiers who fight for your freedom... and it is such a little thing to ask.
The military says it's against policy to let soldiers adopt animals, but numerous other instances have occurred, which I pointed out in my personal comment on the petition. In March of this year Marine Maj. Brian Dennis was reunited with Nubs and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mark Feffer brought Cinnamon home. This article cites 50 dogs and 6 cats where exceptions have been made through Operation Baghdad Pups.
The plight of Sgt. Beberg and Ratchet may not be big headlines, but when we quit caring about the small issues, we lose a piece of our humanity.
October 14, 2008
By Frederic J. Frommer
WASHINGTON - More than 11,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Army to let an Iraqi puppy come home with a Minnesota soldier, who fears that "Ratchet" could be killed if left behind.
Photo: In this photo provided by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Army Sgt. Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis, is seen with Rachet, a puppy she and another solider rescued from a burning trash pile in Iraq. Defense Department rules prohibit soldiers in the U.S. Central Command from adopting pets. Now more than 11,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Army to let Beberg bring the puppy home. (AP Photo/SPCA)
"I just want my puppy home," Sgt. Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis wrote to her mother in an e-mail Sunday from Iraq, soon after she was separated from the dog following a transfer. "I miss my dog horribly." Beberg, 28, is scheduled to return to the U.S. next month.
Ratchet's defenders are ratcheting up their efforts to save him. On Monday, the program coordinator for Operation Baghdad Pups, which is run by Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International, left for a trip to the Middle East to try to get the puppy to the U.S.
And last week, Beberg's congressman, Democrat Keith Ellison, wrote to the Army urging it to review the case.
Beberg and another soldier rescued the puppy from a burning pile of trash back in May. Defense Department rules prohibit soldiers in the U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq, from adopting pets, but exceptions have been made. Operation Baghdad Pups says it has gotten 50 dogs and six cats transferred to the U.S. in the last eight months.
Photo: In this photo provided by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Army Sgt. Gwen Beberg of Minneapolis, is seen with Rachet, a puppy she and another solider rescued from a burning trash pile in Iraq. Defense Department rules prohibit soldiers in the U.S. Central Command from adopting pets. (AP Photo/SPCA)
"I'm coping reasonably well because I refuse to believe that Ratchet has been hurt," Beberg wrote in the e-mail to her mother, Patricia Beberg. "If I find out that he was killed though well, we just won't entertain that possibility."
The mother said her daughter sent another e-mail saying that she confirmed that the dog was still alive and doing OK.
Operation Baghdad Pups' program coordinator, Terry Crisp, is scheduled to arrive in Baghdad on Wednesday. Crisp said the adopted dogs left behind face death on Iraqi streets.
She said Iraqis view dogs and cats as nuisances and carriers of disease, and U.S. soldiers have rescued many of them from abuse.
On the Web: Ratchet petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/clemency-for-ratchet