US Soldier Adopts Puppy He Rescued During His Deployment

by Jennifer Shea
Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

This Christmas, a U.S. soldier has a new family member and a pup has a new home. And it’s all thanks to Paws of War, a charity for military service members who adopt a cat or dog while serving overseas.

Meet Sergeant Wayne, a service member stationed abroad who was mourning the recent loss of his family’s 11-year-old dog when he stumbled across a puppy desperately in need of care. Sergeant Wayne picked the puppy up, named him Branko, and took him back to his base, where he nursed Branko until he recovered.

While Branko was slowly improving, Sergeant Wayne sent pictures and video of the pup back to his family in the states. His kids promptly fell for Branko and demanded Sergeant Wayne bring the puppy back with him so they could welcome Branko into their family.

A Christmas Miracle for Branko, and Soldier’s Family

Sergeant Wayne knew that getting Branko back to America with his family would be no easy task, so he contacted Paws of War.

“When Sergeant Wayne’s family bonded with Branko we knew we had to step in and help with the relocation effort,” Dereck Cartright, a disabled veteran and the stateside logistics coordinator at Paws of War, said in a news release. “Seeing how getting Branko to his family made them all so happy it is a reminder of exactly why we do what we do. Our soldiers do so much for the country, it’s an honor to do something for them in return.”

It required a lot of effort to coordinate Branko’s trip – complicated travel arrangements, veterinary expenses and considerable paperwork, among other hurdles. But Paws of War took the mission as a challenge, and it was a challenge they met.

Branko has now arrived at Sergeant Wayne’s family home in the states, where Sergeant Wayne’s children welcomed him with open arms. It was a great Christmas gift for the kids, who may not be able to see their dad for Christmas, but can still receive a gift through his loving care for another living being.

“I’m so grateful for the help of Paws of War in helping to safely relocate Branko,” Sergeant Wayne said in a statement. “I may still be overseas for the holidays, but it’s a great feeling knowing that my family is happy and Branko brought so much joy to my wife and children during this time. This is a great Christmas!”

Paws of War Also Sponsors a Mobile Veterinary Clinic

In addition to helping service members overseas, Paws of War also helps veterans here in America. The Paws of War mobile veterinary clinic helps care for the pets of veterans and first responders, some of whom live on low fixed incomes.

The mobile veterinary clinic for now provides limited services at no cost (see the list here), but it’s aiming to add blood work, x-rays and minor surgeries to its toolbox in upcoming months.

To donate to Paws of War, click this link or mail a check to Paws of War, 127-6 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset, NY, 11767.