Dogs in War

Mayor of Njamena's Dog

My friend Rahama Deffallah from the Darfur People’s Association of New York, traveled to Chad and Darfur last summer to visit the refugee camps and reunite with his parents. Among the hundreds of photos he took documenting this trip, I found this one. A lone dog in deep slumber under the shade of a tree. It was a picture of peace. I asked Rahama who this dog was and he told me this was the mayor of Ndjamena’s dog.

Earlier this month when violence erupted in Chad and rebels attacked the capital, causing many citizens to flee, I wondered what happened to this dog.

Yesterday NPR had a segment about a soldier in Iraq, Sgt. Peter Neesley, who took care of two stray dogs in Bagdad. He died in his sleep on Christmas morning, but his family decided to adopt the dogs, honoring Sgt. Neesley’s commitment to the lifelong care of his best friends.

Last year, another young soldier in Iraq, Marine Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee was killed in a pipe bomb explosion. Lex, his German Shepherd, bomb-sniffing partner stayed by his side, guarding his body fiercely. After a bit of effort, the dog was retired from service and adopted by the soldier’s family.

Cesar Milan, the “Dog Whisperer,”recently did an episode on a former explosive detection dog suffering from a K-9 version of PTSD.

I remember reading that the dogs in Rwanda during the genocide started eating some of the dead, and consequently were shot.

I recently watched the film My Daughter, the Terrorist, which documents the friendship and training of two Lady Black Tigers in Sri Lanka who have signed up to leave this world with an American Claymore Mine strapped to them. In their daily routines in the bush, two dogs follow them around.  One day the girls will leave for their final mission.

What happens to dogs when their best friends are in war?


~ by sangamithra on February 20, 2008.

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