TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Puppy Comes From Iraq; Helps Tie Family to Slain Soldier

Puppy Comes From Iraq; Helps Tie Family to Slain Soldier

(no name) ((no email))
Fri, 25 May 2007 23:57:56 -0500

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Here as our last item in this issue is
a bit of good news at last: a baby puppy named 'Hero', rescued from
the awful mess in Iraq, and sent to 'her family' in the USA. Her new
master was killed the same day in a roadside bombing. But there is one
major disappointment: I had _thought_ the Democrats were going to put
an end to this horror ... didn't you also think so? At the last
minute they backed away from it. PAT]

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

The family of Army Spc. Justin Rollins feels a little better thanks to
a puppy, fresh from a nearly 6,000-mile journey from Iraq, that
connects them to one of the soldier's last happy moments.

Seeing photos of the 22-year-old nuzzling a puppy from a newborn
litter the night before his death in a roadside bombing in Iraq
prompted Rollins' family and girlfriend to start pushing to adopt
Hero, who arrived in New Hampshire on Friday.

"It was the last bit of happiness Justin had," said Rollins' girlfriend,
Brittney Murray.

Rollins and some other soldiers from the 82nd Airborne found the
puppies outside an Iraqi police station March 4 but weren't allowed to
bring them back into their barracks. Rollins was killed the next day
in Samarra.

After Murray saw the photos, she sought help finding the short-haired
dog. U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes contacted the U.S. Central Command, which
ordered the 82nd to retrieve the pup and turn it over to delivery
company DHL.

Hero was named as a reminder of the man who planned to propose to
Murray on his next visit home, she and Rollins' mother said.

The female pup arrived Thursday night at Kennedy International Airport
in New York, visited a veterinarian and arrived in New Hampshire
overnight. The floppy-eared pooch -- mostly white, with brown spots along
the right side of its muzzle and paws still too big for its 15-pound
body -- was a hit Friday as she sniffed around Hodes' office, pausing to
piddle on the carpet.

Whether the mixed-breed puppy is definitely the one in the photo didn't
matter. Several people claimed credit for the dog's name, but everyone
agreed it was a fitting tribute to Rollins, whose parents said he was
always an animal lover.

"We have a dog and three cats at home. When he was little, they all
were on his bed," said his mother, Rhonda.

Rollins was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with a baseball
signed by Red Sox player David Ortiz, who met him last summer shortly
before Rollins' unit was deployed.

"He really did believe in what he was fighting for," Rhonda Rollins
said of her paratrooper son. "I think he'd be thrilled there was a
positive story from the negative thing that happened to us. ... He was
such a happy-go-lucky guy."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Indeed, one positive thing out of the
tragedy known as Iraq; I doubt that Hero knows what a lucky girl she
is to be jetted away from that hellhole and flown here. I had my
fingers crossed this past week that the Democrats were going to demand
a final answer to this and bring our troops home. But, now, it looks
like the war will go on forever. Well, happy Memorial Day to all our
readers. Let's hope in your lifetime at least, if not in mine, that
this war will come to an end, but knowing Mr. Bush, I find it hard to
imagine an end anytime soon, at least until the next election in 2008. PAT]

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