When a soldier heads overseas they expect a lot of things: combat, loneliness, experiences that will shape them forever. However, most don’t expect to make a furry friend. But that’s exactly what happened to this National Guard servicewoman! When she returned home, the veteran could not stop thinking about the dog she met overseas. She knew she needed him home with her…
A Soldier Meets Her Dog Soulmate
When Oregon Army National Guard Sgt. Erin Guthrie went to the Republic of Kosovo, she had no idea she would find a furry forever friend there. While she had wanted a dog for some time, the soldier did not think that she would discover one while on active duty! At first, when the stray approached Guthrie on the streets, she had no idea what to do. “I was nervous because it was a stray dog approaching me, but I could just tell by the way that he was coming toward me [and] his mannerism he wanted a friend. He didn’t have a pack. He didn’t have anybody he was with,” the servicewoman stated. “I was honored that he would come up to me, and I just felt an instant connection with him.”
That instant connection led to Guthrie and the dog sticking together through some pretty hard times on her peacekeeping mission. The pup, whom the soldier named Mikeshia (which means friendship in Albanian), also served as her family, as the 28-year-old was on an eight-month deployment. “Having him nearby really brought brightness to a pretty hard situation,” she said. Of course, when Guthrie returned home, she looked for a dog just like Meeka – but couldn’t find one. “I actually started looking for a dog when I was in quarantine on my way home. I looked for a few days, and I was like, I just wanted that dog,” she said.
That’s when Guthrie heard about an organization that might be able to help her…
Saving Her Furry Friend
When Guthrie discovered Paws of War, a Long Island organization that helps connect vets with dogs. Not only do they partner vets with emotional support pups here in the United States, but Paws also has a program called War Torn Pups that helps bring home dogs from overseas. It’s no easy task, though. “There is a lot of obstacles. There’s a lot of paperwork. There’s a quarantine process that goes into this. But we feel it’s all worth it, and with all the bad going on in this world, this is something we can give back to do good,” said Paws of War Co-Founder Robert Misseri.
Thankfully, after a few antagonizing weeks, Guthrie found out Meeka’s paperwork went through! When he arrived in the United States, the soldier’s furry friend could not stop wagging his tail! “I was nervous that he wouldn’t recognize me, but the fact that he pulls into me just the same way and that he recognizes me, he knows me, and that’s an amazing feeling,” Guthrie said.
Since beginning in 2013, Paws of War has managed to transport more than 100 animals back to the U.S. for veterans. Meeka marks another massive success for the organization!