Gathered at the San Diego airport was a throng of reporters and a few Marines. The soldiers, battle scorned and weary from the long War on Terror, suddenly became emotional children.
What could bring such tough men and women to tears? Four-legged friends from Iraq had arrived finally and were one step closer to their new homes. In what has played out many times since the Iraq war began, stray dogs have found themselves “adopting” soldiers and often, entire battalions.
The scene Saturday at Lindburg Field played out with an enormous amount of fanfare for a few furry creatures. But several in this group were special and indicative of the story many of these animals share.
One in particular’s story was incredible. Nubs took to the Marines along the Iraq-Syria border and they too became attached to him. After several tours as a fighter pilot, Major Brian Dennis volunteered for the border secure detail to see the country from the ground. One of his first friends was Nubs.
“This dog who had been through a lifetime of fighting, war, abuse…is going to live the good life,” Dennis told his family in an email.
Nubs, a German shepherd-Collie mix, was given his moniker because his ears had been burned off. Soon after spotting the dog, Nubs kept returning to Dennis for affection. At the end of December, Nubs had been stabbed by a screwdriver and needed immediate attention. Dennis found him and brought him back to health. After awaking from his surgery, Nubs would never leave Dennis’ side.
Then, the incredible happened. After Dennis and his troop was sent 65 miles away to another patrol, the soldier thought he had seen the last of his stray friend. That would not be the case, Nubs would track him down arriving two days later thirsty and missing his master. Military regulations forbid animals in the war zone, so Nubs was off to San Diego courtesy of Dennis’ buddies at Camp Pendleton who raised over $3,000 to bring the puppy to San Diego.
Now, Dennis’ friends and one special furry one, await his return. Soon both Dennis and Nubs will be running along the Pacific Ocean.