Best Defense

Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: UK paratroops trying to bring home Phos

By Rebecca Frankel Best Defense chief canine correspondent This week a British paper proudly called the Airdrie & Coatridge Advertiser reported that Sergeant Garry McMahon, a soldier from Airdrie with 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment has been joined by the rest of his platoon on a final mission before they return home from Afghanistan: ...

justgiving.com /images.icnetwork.co.uk
justgiving.com /images.icnetwork.co.uk

By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense chief canine correspondent

This week a British paper proudly called the Airdrie & Coatridge Advertiser reported that Sergeant Garry McMahon, a soldier from Airdrie with 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment has been joined by the rest of his platoon on a final mission before they return home from Afghanistan: Bringing home with them the stray dog they adopted.

Phos, now a scrappy looking white and gray mutt, was saved along the other five puppies from an untimely death by a group of quick-thinking soldiers pulled a fast maneuver — “[switching] the box with the puppies in it and [sending] the six dogs out to different check points as pets.”

Phos has been with Sgt. McMahon and his fellow soldiers since he was six weeks old and the dog has “been a part of our team ever since,” accompanying the unit on patrols or “walkies.” The unit’s preparation to depart Afghanistan was complicated by the fact that the unit coming in has a strict no-pet policy. But the soldiers have grown “very fond of Phos,” and they have no intention of leaving their beloved pup behind.

McMahon and company is calling on the public for help and has set up a donation site to try and raise the £5,000 required to cover the cost of Phos’ trip home. Last time I checked they’d managed to bring in £2,479.00. Here’s the soldiers’ note:

“[W]e are [members] of the parachute regiment in a small checkpoint in afghanistan our dog phos was part of a litter of pups born in the main camp whose mother went missing not long after they were born. …[T]hat was in december so weve brought him up from an early age in not the best conditions,weve all grown very attached to him (no matter how may pairs of socks go missing) now and dont want him to get left behind when we go home as the following unit have a no pet policy and we dont want to give him to the locals who will cut off his ears and tail and use him for fighting. we think he should get the chance to come back with us to a good home in the UK and apreciate the help anyone can give us.”

A sad side note this week: There are many worthy and worthwhile tributes to photographer Chris Hondros who was killed in Libya alongside Tim Hetherington this week, some of them here on FP. Last year Chris, whose photos have appeared on this feature (and likely will again), shared a his own war-dog story with us. Here it is one more time for anyone who missed it.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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