A wriggling bundle of canine fun who made life bearable for British soldiers serving in Afghanistan is now looking forward to a new life in the UK after being rescued from the war zone. During a patrol of the streets of Sangin, Corporal Sarah Marriott fro
A wriggling bundle of canine fun who made life bearable for British soldiers serving in Afghanistan is now looking forward to a new life in the UK after being rescued from the war zone.
During a patrol of the streets of Sangin, Corporal Sarah Marriott from Westward Ho! and her colleagues were horrified to see a tiny puppy being kicked about like a football by a gang of Afghan children.
They were on their way to drown him in the river because the family did not want any more dogs.
Rescuing him from this fate, the eight strong unit of the 2nd Yorkshire Regiment Army medic Sarah was attached to took him back to their frontline patrol base.
Nursed back to health on porridge and Spam and named Reorg - Army slang for reorganisation - the days-old puppy was soon bouncing around their compound and bringing a smile to battle weary soldiers dealing with a draining tour of duty.
"To begin with we didn't think he would make it through the night," said Sarah.
"He could hardly move, his belly was swollen to twice the normal size, one of his tiny legs looked very wonky and his eyes were messy with infection. He looked so poorly even hardened infantry men felt the tug on their heart strings.
"As the days moved on he went from strength to strength developing a very sweet, loving and cheeky personality. He was devoted to anyone in a British Army uniform and formed a strong bond with Sarah.
"Having a dog had a huge effect on morale," she continued, "We were in quite a horrible murderous place, the base came under attack quite often and we were so tired by the constant threat of IEDs and casualties.
"Then to come back and have a small puppy so excited to see us and wanting our attention was such a lovely distraction and a morale booster."
But as soon as the troops went home to the UK Reorg wouldn't have lasted five minutes and Sarah knew she had to save him despite the huge odds.
"Dogs are not pets over there, they're used for fighting or as guard dogs and once we left he just would have been killed," she said.
"I tried everything and was starting to give up when I stumbled across Nowzad Dogs, a charity that rescues dogs from war zones. They worked hard at getting him home and never once gave up on him."
Now almost nine months old, Reorg is completing his quarantine period at a kennel in Yeovil and Sarah is fund raising hard to repay the charity for the £4,000 cost of his rescue.
Sadly, Reorg still won't become her pet, but she will see him when she visits her father's Leeds farmhouse where he already has three dogs.
"I'm in the Army and move about a lot, so it would be unfair to keep him, but even if he was going to another home and I'd never see him again, it is still better than what would have happened otherwise," she said.
If you would like to support Sarah's fund raising on behalf of Nowzad Dogs, visit her Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/Sarah-marriott or cheques payable to Nowzad Dogs can be sent to: Corporal Sarah Mariott, QEMHC, Tidworth, SP9 7EA. Follow Reorg Marriott on his Facebook page.