Dogs have an incredible ability to bring light into our lives, even in the most difficult of situations, which perhaps is why so many soldiers bond with canine companions while serving overseas. There are those who work specifically with military dogs, but many soldiers take comfort in bonding with the stray dogs they encounter.
Sgt. Chris Duke and his fellow soldiers fell into the latter category, finding solace in the companionship of three sweet, stray dogs while serving in Afghanistan. These soldiers had no idea at the time, however, that their kindness would establish a sense of loyalty in these dogs that would eventually save the soldiers' lives.
In the dark of night, a suicide bomber snuck into Sgt. Duke's camp in an attempt to blow up the barracks in a suicide bombing. The three dogs, Sasha, Rufus, and Target noticed the intruder and refused to let him pass while barking to alert the soldiers that something was amiss. The suicide bomber was unable to get passed the dogs, and his bomb detonated outside of the barracks, sparing the lives of the 50 soldiers inside. Sgt. Duke is the first to admit that he owes his life to Sasha Rufus and Target.
Tragically, Sasha received injuries that couldn't be healed, and she had to be put down. Rufus and Target, however, were nursed back to health. Sgt. Duke was sent home just a month later, but he had to leave Rufus and Target behind which caused him to worry quite a bit. He feared that the next unit that moved in wouldn't want stray dogs hanging around and would chase them off. Sgt. Duke knew that these dogs deserved so much better, so he began efforts to rescue the furry heroes that had saved his life. He wrote a letter to a veteran's assistance group called, Hope For the Warriors, explaining that these dogs were responsible for his safety and requesting help in bringing them stateside so he could offer them the best life possible. Hope For the Warriors President, Robin Kelleher, says that she had never received a request like this before, but that she knew immediately how important it was to Sgt. Duke to rescue these dogs. A Facebook page then went up to seek support from the public, and miraculously, $21,000 was raised that allowed for Rufus and Target to make the long journey from Afghanistan to the United States.
Watch the video below for the beautifully heartwarming moment when Target and Rufus finally get to see Sgt. Duke for the first time after being separated, it's a moment you simply can't miss.