When Georgia National Guardsman Chris Duke was serving in Afghanistan, he made friends with three stray dogs he named Sasha, Target and Rufus. "A lot of us used the three of them as an escape when you're homesick," Duke said.
But the dogs did more than keep them company. "I firmly believe I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him," Duke said.
Last February a suicide bomber tried to get into Duke’s barracks. But the dogs barked and attacked the intruder. Before he could kill the 50 soldiers inside, the attacker blew himself up. Five soldiers were injured, but none seriously.
Sadly Sasha died in the attack, but Target and Rufus were nursed back to health.
When Duke returned home the dogs had to be left behind. Duke sought help from a veteran’s assistance group called Hope for the Warriors and other groups. Together they raised the $21,000 to bring the dogs to the United States.
Target will live in Arizona with another soldier, while Rufus will stay with the Dukes.
"To think that I'm going to have him for the rest of my life - it's exciting," Duke said. The story
So while $21,000 may be a lot to pay for a stray dog from another country, stories like this underline the bond that humans and dogs can have for one another.