An American Special Forces soldier serving in Afghanistan has a new best friend thanks to his own compassion for the animal and the assistance of family, friends and two non-profit organizations that offered a helping hand.
Although the exact circumstances of their meeting are unclear, Aaron Eleby of Valatie, N.Y., told News 10 he discovered a white puppy while on tour in the war-torn nation.
"He was literally looking up, like, 'what are you going to do, man?' ya know, like what are you going to do next? It's your call so," Eleby reportedly said.
"When I walked in and saw him, it was awesome."
- Aaron Eleby
But with the cost of transporting the dog to safety in the U.S. about $4,000, the prospect of saving it seemed dim.
That’s when family and friends, along with a charity called Pet Connection stepped in to raise the necessary money.
"We were actually gone for two weeks straight on a mission and I came back and the money was raised," Eleby told ABC 10. "When I walked in and saw him, it was awesome. I'm not gonna say a tear came to my eye, but it was hiding back there.”
A second charity called Nozrad, which claims to have helped more than 550 soldiers send animals they found in Afghanistan to their home countries, then arranged for Eleby’s new dog to fly to Kennedy Airport in New York City, where Eleby's mother picked it up.
The 7-month-old dog, now named Yakkul, has since graduated from puppy school and is reportedly staying with Eleby’s grandparents while he serves his country overseas.
For its part, Pet Connection writes on its Facebook page: “Our goal…is to find loving homes for abandoned dogs and cats. These beautiful pets deserve a second chance at life and we will do our best to make that happen.”