Puppy Love

Soldier sends war buddy home to his family in Chester, By Ellen Teatum

Chester — War is ugly. But beautiful things do happen, even in a war zone. The soldier who cares for an injured child. The native who befriends a foreign soldier.

For Staff Sergeant Michael Golembesky, stationed in Afghanistan with the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, beauty came in the form of a puppy.

On their third day defending a hilltop in a major Taliban-controlled area, Michael and his unit were on patrol in a nearby village. They found a nine-week-old puppy in a bombed-out building. He was shaking, dehydrated, and hungry. He had no tail and no ears. The Afghans cut them off so that the dogs can fight the wolves that threaten their herds. Sometimes, the dogs are used to fight one another.

The soldiers named their new puppy “Bear.” He latched onto Michael, who took him back to his barracks.

In January Golembesky called his wife, Sabrina, a Chester native, to tell her how much he loved this special dog, and how it would break his heart to abandon him when the time came for his return to the States.

Sabrina went right to work. She found an organization, www.nowzaddogs.co.uk, which helps service members bring abandoned dogs home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Sabrina raised $6,095 from contributors, enough to pay for vaccinations, rabies testing, and transportation.

Sabrina said bringing Bear home was not only important for the dog but for the solider too.

“It is important for Michael,” she said. “This dog has been through everything with him. We at home have not. That makes it a very strong bond between these solders and their adopted dogs. These dogs are very good with helping ease the symptoms of non-critical post traumatic stress disorder in solders returning to civilian life.”

When Michael returns, he and Sabrina will move to the mountains of Colorado. There they will raise their family: Devlyn, Truman, and Bear — together for life.

link to original article: http://www.strausnews.com/articles/2010/04/17/the_chronicle/news/1.txt

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