A policy of "Don't Bark, Don't Smell" is reportedly taking shape at U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.
With names like Smoke, Bacon and Mickey Blue Eyes, stray dogs and cats are being adopted by U.S. Marines and soldiers in the Arghandab District in Afghanistan, where they enjoy a life not unlike their counterparts in suburban America, Stars and Stripes reports.
While no one will comment officially, commanders at the bases are seemingly looking the other way as long as the animals do not interfere with mission duties or present health risks.
"It is common in both Iraq and Afghanistan for units to adopt local dogs and cats," SPCA International spokeswoman Stephanie Scott told the newspaper. "We have been told time and time again that these dogs and cats can be of great comfort and a little piece of home to our troops."
Spc. Jimmy Labbee, of the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment’s Company B, based in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan, said the animals "definitely" boost morale on the base.
"It keeps our energy positive, playing with them and spending time with them," Labbee told the newspaper.
One wooden doghouse at the U.S. Army's Operational Control Center for the Arghandab district houses animals like Momma, Bacon and Smoke, one or more of which goes out on virtually all foot patrols.
"Smoke, he's our squad dog, but he goes around to all the squads," Labbee continued. "We all pretty much look after the dogs."