As Marines entered an abandoned house in Fallujah, Iraq, they expected the worst when they heard a suspicious noise deep inside the house. With their weapons ready, they worked their way through the house prepared to open fire.
What they found, was not a dangerous insurgent, but a tiny, mangy, flea-ridden puppy, abandoned as most of the population fled the city. Although military law forbids keeping pets, the hardened Marines de-fleaed him with kerosene, wormed him with chewing tobacco, and filled him up on Meals Ready to Eat.
Lava soon became a true marine who taught his band of brothers some unexpected lessons about life, death, and war, as told in a new book called From Baghdad with Love.
Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman fell in love with Lava and tried to take him home after his tour of duty was over, but military regulations prohibited him from doing it. Then, according to a story from WISH-TV, Ken Licklider, owner of Vohne Liche Kennels in Indianapolis, heard about his plight. He trains dogs for the military and had the connections to ship dogs in and out of Muslim countries.
He understood that “It wasn't just a dog, it was another mate, a soldier that went through the experiences."
Lava now lives with Kopelman and his family in California.