U.S. Soldiers Reunite With Battlefield Rescue Puppy

Deployed soldiers adopted an Afghan puppy; fought to fly her home with them.

ByABC News
December 8, 2009, 6:20 PM

Dec. 8, 2009— -- Ally was just a newborn puppy when she was found in Afghanistan. The young soldiers of the 101st Airborne, 159th Aviation Brigade found her in the middle of a battlefield.

"It obviously had been abandoned. There was no mother around… It was very, very young, so if they would have left it there, it would have never made it," said Teri Lemmons, mother of Army Cpl. Michael Lemmons.

The soldiers adopted the afghan mix puppy, and she soon became part of the brigade.

"You know, we'd go out for physical training and she'd go run with us, she would stand in formations with us," Lemmons said. "She did everything, so she was one of us."

But by military law, they weren't allowed to bring her home -- not on a military plane and certainly not on the military's dime. Lemmons phoned his mother, asked for help, and she came through. Teri Lemmons raised the money, and Ally arrived at Kennedy International Airport in New York two weeks before the soldiers came home.

"The actual shipping cost to get the dog from Afghanistan to New York was a total of $2,500 that we had to raise," Teri Lemmons said.

"Dogs in Afghanistan have a very short lifespan, and he [Cpl. Lemmons] didn't want that to happen to this dog, what happened to the last dog that got caught in crossfire. And so he was like, 'We need to get this dog home,'" she said.

Pilots N Paws, a company that flies dogs around the country for free, picked up Ally in New York, and flew her to Morgantown, W.Va., and from there to Louisville, Ky., where Teri Lemmons was waiting.

Jerry Sica, the pilot who flew Ally, said he's proud to help reunite these rescued pets with returning soldiers.

"They [the soldiers] call us the heroes, you know, that we're helping them out… and I'm just like, 'Listen, guys, you know we're just doing our part. You guys are the heroes,'" he said. "Doing what you're doing out there, and if we can just spend a couple days out of a weekend helping you guys out, you know it's our duty and our pleasure to do so."