You can support our troops in Afghanistan while tasting a variety of artisanal wines at a March 2 fundraiser for The Puppy Rescue Mission at d’Vine Wine and Gifts in Palatine. The Puppy Rescue Mission has helped US military service members bring home more than 400 local dogs (and several cats) that had become their devoted companions and protectors during deployments in Afghanistan and other war zones.
The organization was founded in April 2010 by Anna Cannan after her fiancé, Army Sergeant Christopher Chiasson, deployed to Afghanistan and told Cannan the story of three local dogs that had befriended soldiers at his combat outpost and instinctively protected them from a suicide bomber. The three dogs attacked the bomber, who had tried to infiltrate the camp during the night, saving all 50 troops at the camp. Although one of these loyal dogs was killed in the blast, another dog gave birth to puppies, which the soldiers quickly adopted as their own. When Chiasson asked Cannan to help him bring his beloved puppy home to Maine, Cannan soon found herself scrambling to help six other soldiers bring their own “battle buddy dogs” home too.
Cannan began fundraising with raffles, yard sales, and a Facebook page to raise the approximately $21,000 she needed to get the first seven dogs transported to USA. Almost three years later, The Puppy Rescue Mission has grown into a nationwide network of thousands of supporters linked by social media and commitment to the group’s mission to help military service members bring their furry battle buddies home from war.
Although anyone who has loved a dog or cat understands the depth of the human-animal bond, these battle-tested companions share a special connection to their military service member. “These aren’t just dogs, these are soldiers’ dogs,” explains Cannan. “These loyal companions not only protect our service members, they provide a sense of home and feeling of normalcy in the middle of a war zone. They can bring a smile to their soldier’s face when almost nothing else can. The bond between them is amazing.”
The Puppy Rescue Mission touched the lives of a military family in Downers Grove, Illinois, when it helped Army Sergeant Tim Johannsen rescue his battle buddy Leonidas. Johannsen found the feisty Afghan puppy at his combat outpost and the two quickly became inseparable. Thanks to The Puppy Rescue Mission, Johannsen was able to send Leonidas to live with his wife Kaydee and her family in Downers Grove while he finished his combat tour. They were reunited in 2012 and now live in Hawaii where Johannsen is currently stationed.
Local animals continue to find their way into the camps and hearts of US troops, and The Puppy Rescue Mission receives ongoing requests from deployed service members anxious to save their beloved dog or cat from a life of brutality if left behind in Afghanistan. Currently, about 20 dogs are awaiting funds to start their trip home. Rescue costs vary depending on an animal’s size, but each dog costs roughly $4,000 to cover veterinary care and transportation from the field to an Afghan shelter and then home to USA. Supporters can learn more about the group’s work at www.thepuppyrescuemission.org/ and follow daily rescue updates on Facebook.
The wine tasting fundraiser will be held from 7 to 9 pm on Saturday, March 2 at d-Vine Wine and Gifts, 742 East Dundee Road, Palatine, Illinois. Cost is $20 with $15 of every ticket and 10 percent of any store sales donated directly to The Puppy Rescue Mission. For information about the event, call 847-359-9463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Please join us for a lovely evening that will raise money for a project that brings tremendous emotional support to our deployed troops who face danger every day in Afghanistan and to their anxious families waiting for their safe return home.