I got the following message via email, I have no idea how true it is, but I thought it might be interesting to post here, since it’s a great story showing just how much love is a four-legged word…

Rob LoMonaco needs donations to bring to the U.S. this dog he befriended and named Left Eye while in Afghanistan.

In an e-mail interview that spanned three days and roughly 7,000 miles, I finally had to ask the tough question: Why should Americans care about a pair of mongrel dogs in Afghanistan?

Hey, you know I’m a sap, but I figured someone out there would ask, so I did it first.

Rob LoMonaco’s response was open and kind: Help the dogs that helped them stay sane. And if that doesn’t work for you: Help him and a fellow serviceman stay sane when they return by helping them help the dogs.

A New York transplant who now calls Pickerington home, LoMonaco will return to Ohio in September from a one-year tour that included five months in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan.

He was one of 10 U.S. soldiers, airmen and Marines among roughly 100 Afghan national army troops stationed at the base there. Lo-Monaco is in the Air Force, a
team trainer who works with Afghan logistic officers.

He and his American colleagues all grappled with the isolation every day, the long convoys and the overall stress of overseas military service.

LoMonaco also was lucky enough to find a true friend over there, a dog he named Left Eye. Now, he wants to adopt and bring her home but needs our help to pay the roughly $2,500 cost of travel and quarantine.

He met Left Eye when she was just born.

Her mother, D.O.G., already was a favorite among the previous team of Americans, who had trained her for security.

In November, she gave birth to four puppies: two boys and two girls. Afghans adopted the two boys — they don’t get pregnant — but left the girls, who eventually attached themselves to the base cooks, one of whom was LoMonaco.

“Whether it was training them, or watching them play, they were an excellent way to detox from a 10-hour convoy mission,” he told me in an e-mail.

As much as anything, the servicemen admired the mother, who was killed in January by Afghan soldiers as she tried to protect one of the Americans in a tragic misunderstanding.

In February, the next shift took over and gladly took over the care of the two girls, but LoMonaco missed Left Eye, so named for a spot below her left eye. “I quickly realized how attached I was to the dog and felt I had left a friend.”

He started looking into the adoption process and learned about Tigger House, a group that will arrange such things for servicemen and women.

But the cost was beyond his reach.

Then he heard that neighborhood children had dangerously taunted the two puppies, which are mongrels and therefore worthless by typical Afghan standards. Wild dogs are common there and often threaten children in the region, LoMonaco said.

He and the soldier back at the base who had taken over care of the pups decided they had to do something. “Both of us did not want to be ‘kicking’ ourselves when we got home and for the rest of our lives that we did not try.”

After reading their story, I felt likewise. Let’s help them bring home their buddies.

For more information and some adorable videos, go to http://dankalinowski.com/rlomo/.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
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