Dori Edwards, Global Animal
AFGHANISTAN — A year ago, United States marine Shaun Duling arrived in Afghanistan to begin his year-long deployment. Upon arrival, Duling encountered a malnourished stray dog living on the camp. The dog, named Bolt, became the soldier’s best friend.
Within days of his tour, Duling began taking care of Bolt and feeding him regularly. The two became inseparable and when the winter approached, Duling built the dog a house and eventually allowed Bolt inside of the tents to keep him warm during the snowy season.
However, once the seasons changed, the commander ordered all canines be evicted from the camps and Bolt was taken away from his pet guardian.
Duling immediately mourned the loss of his beloved companion. “I had made a collar for him, so I took it off. I wanted to have his collar to hold on to as a memento,” he said.
But distance could not compete with Bolt’s love for Duling. The canine followed the convoy back to the barracks for ten miles before the commander agreed to let the dedicated dog into the vehicle and back into the camps. At 2:30 in the morning, Duling was reunited with Bolt.
Unfortunately, their reunited relationship continued for only a short time before Duling was returned to the states. “As I was walking to the helicopter I tried to get some of the guys to hold on to him, but he broke free and he tried to jump on with me,” he said. “I think he knew I was leaving, and leaving for good.”
Bolt supported Duling during his oversea trials and the soldier was not going to let go of their bond without a fight. Duling explained, “He just looked sad and confused and I was just like that can’t be the last time I see him.”
It has only been two weeks since the soldier arrived home and posted his story on Facebook. His friend informed him of Nowzad, a rescue shelter in Afghanistan that sends their housed animals to the United States for $4,000. A person can choose to donate to a specific animal and their travel fees. If the specific case is not successful, due to disease or injury, then Nowzad will use the donation towards maintenance of the facilities.
As of this week, Duling has received nearly $4,400 in donations and Bolt is expected to make his trip to Duling’s home in Alexandria, Virginia within the next month.
Donate to Nowzad and help rescue stray and abandoned animals from Afghanistan!