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  1. #1
    Willowdared's Avatar
    Willowdared is offline Bendy not Breaky
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    A Special Homecoming

    F-18 pilot returns home to canine friend from Iraqi war zone

    By Kristina Davis
    UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
    5:22 a.m. March 22, 2008
    They spent months in an Iraqi war zone cementing a special bond.

    But after more than a month of being apart, Marine Maj. Brian Dennis began to worry if Nubs the dog would still remember him, especially in a new place like San Diego.

    Their reunion early Saturday at Camp Pendleton clearly showed otherwise.

    The 2-year-old dog, named for his two nubby ears, drenched Dennis' face with doggie kisses and said hello with excited whimpers.

    “You remember that, huh?” Dennis said as he rubbed the dog's head.

    Dennis, an F-18 pilot stationed at Miramar Marine Corp Air Station, was among several Marines to return home from a seven-month tour in Iraq early Saturday.

    Among those who also returned was a group that fell in love with seven puppies and also had them brought back to San Diego. They plan to reunite with their new dogs at 3 p.m. at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

    Nubs, a German shepherd/border collie mix, came to San Diego a month earlier after friends, family and complete strangers raised $3,500 for the dog's trip out of Iraq.

    “It's almost like 'Lassie Come Home' in Iraq,” said Dennis' mother, Marsha Cargo, who anxiously waited for the unit's arrival in the wee hours of the morning.

    Dennis met Nubs in the Al Anbar Province where the dog ran wild at an Iraqi Border Fort. When Nubs was a puppy, an Iraqi sliced off most of his ears in an attempt to make the dog tough and more alert.

    Another time, Nubs was stabbed with a screwdriver, and Dennis nursed him back to health.

    When Dennis' unit, the Border Transition Team, moved camp 70 miles away, Nubs somehow tracked them to their new location two days later.

    It was against the rules to keep the dog in camp, and friends jumped in to bring Nubs to San Diego.

    “Once he found us there, it seemed like this was supposed to have happened,” Dennis said Saturday. “After he walked all that distance, it seemed like he was supposed to end up in San Diego.”

    For the past month, Eric Sjoberg, one of Dennis' Marine buddies, has been caring for Nubs along with Dennis' other dog, Bogey.

    Nubs has also been learning new tricks and how to behave in a different environment with some help from a dog trainer.

    “After running two years out in the desert, he's got a personality on him,” Sjoberg said.

    Dennis said his first outing with Nubs will be a jog on the beach.

    “It will consummate the whole journey, going from the sand of Iraq to the sand of San Diego.”
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

    Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
    or otherwise distort statements of fact.
    FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley

  2. #2
    Willowdared's Avatar
    Willowdared is offline Bendy not Breaky
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    Here is Nub's story

    Nubs, the Iraq war dog, arrives at his new home
    By Michael Stetz
    UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
    February 23, 2008

    Nubs wasted no time melting hearts.
    Big, tough Marines said things like, “Oooohhh,” and gently stroked his fur as they cradled him. Reporters and camera crews swarmed around him.

    The German shepherd/border collie mix was sweet, gentle and a little on the scrawny side when he arrived at Lindbergh Field in San Diego yesterday evening. But he should gain a few pounds now that he'll be fed regularly.

    Life in Iraq can be tough on a dog. Count Nubs among the luckiest. He got out thanks to a San Diego-based Marine, Maj. Brian Dennis, who befriended him and then had him flown home.

    War brings horror, tragedy, the most heart-wrenching of moments. At least, sometimes, along comes something like this.

    “It's amazing, he's finally home,” said Capt. Eric Sjoberg, who's going to care for Nubs with his wife Chrissy until Dennis, a Marine buddy, returns from Iraq in the spring.

    Nubs licked Sjoberg's face. He panted patiently as cameras filmed and snapped pictures. “You're seeing first-hand why the guys over there fell in love with him,” Sjoberg said.

    Nubs is about 2. When young, his ears were slashed off because an Iraqi thought that would make him tough and alert.

    That's why Dennis named him Nubs. That's all he had left of his ears.

    And that was hardly Nubs' worst moment. Once, he was stabbed with a screwdriver. Dennis patched him up as best he could, but didn't think Nubs would make it. The wound was deep. He slept with him that night to keep him warm as temperatures dipped to 18 degrees.

    Dennis fell for the dog hard. The e-mails he sent to friends spoke of his life in Iraq and they always seemed to mention this tough little dog, said Maj. Chris Collins, his roommate in San Diego.

    “It seemed that something bad would always happen,” Collins said. “He'd get into a fight or something. Nubs was always in bad shape.”

    Dennis, who is based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, is serving along the border between Iraq and Syria, where he is helping to train Iraqis. It's rough terrain. Nubs and other dogs lived in an old Iraqi fort and survived on food scraps.

    Nubs ran wild. He had no owner, no home, no collar, nobody to play fetch with, no one to bring a slipper to, no Alpo, nobody to scratch behind his ear. No name, even, until Dennis came along.

    But even Dennis didn't think the relationship would last. He's in a war zone, after all. When Dennis and his team were ordered to move 70 miles away, he figured life with Nubs was over.

    It wasn't. Nubs somehow tracked the Marines to their new location, showing up two days after they did. Dennis was amazed. How'd he do it? He was convinced then that he couldn't leave this dog behind.

    He couldn't keep him in Iraq, of course. It's against the rules. So he wrote home, saying he wanted to take Nubs back to the U.S.

    “We thought he was crazy. We didn't think it was possible,” Sjoberg said.

    Friends rallied, raising more than $3,500, and the wheels were put in motion.

    Yesterday, after a couple stops along the way, Nubs came home.

    And soon he'll be frolicking in the sands of a local dog beach, far away from the stark desert sands of Iraq.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

    Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
    or otherwise distort statements of fact.
    FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley

 

 

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