U.S. Army soldiers plan to bring home stray dog named Meatball and her eight puppies after rescuing them while on deployment in Middle East

A group of U.S. Army soldiers that had been deployed to the Middle East came to the rescue of a pregnant stray dog named Meatball – and are now looking to bring the mom and her pups back to the States. 

The soldiers discovered Meatball seeking refuge beneath a shipping container on their military base as she prepared to give birth to her puppies.

The military personnel began caring for the dog making sure she had enough food and water as she delivered eight cute puppies. 

Just before the pooch was due to give birth, the area was hit by an unexpected ice storm which filled up her den with hail and sludge. 

Once again, the soldiers took it upon themselves to rescue Meatball and her pups from the elements, placing her somewhere warm and out of harms way.

Looking after Meatball and her pups became a source of enjoyment and positivity for the soldiers on their long deployment away from home. 

Many of the soldiers began forming bonds with the puppies as they set about nurturing and protecting them. 

The pups, incidentally, were named Marco, Azura, Connie, Thresher, Jacky, Ricky-Bobby, Chico and Bash. 

US Army Staff Sgt. Rickly and his comrades, who looked over the dogs when they were at their most vulnerable, are looking to bring them back to the United States where they will be given the care and love they deserve.

Sgt. Rickly shared his fondness for the animals noting how they had brought him comfort.

‘From the outside looking in, you might think I saved these puppies, but in so many ways, the pups and Meatball saved me, too,’ Rickly wrote in a touching statement to Fox News.

‘When things back home took a turn for the worse, I became sad being so far away and it was hard to stay focused,’ the soldier explained. 

‘Making it my mission to ensure … that each of the pups has a loving forever home, and taking care of them, has given me great comfort during difficult times.’

The soldier expressed his gratitude simply for the opportunity to ensure that each puppy finds a loving forever home. 

Even waxing philosophical about the pets Rickly is of the belief that the animals were born under his watch for a reason.

The soldiers have now reached out to Paws of War – a charitable organization which trains and places shelter and support dogs to U.S. military veterans  suffering from the emotional and physical effects of war.

The organization acknowledged that without the soldiers’ intervention, the puppies would not have survived.

‘Without the soldiers, Meatball’s babies would have died,’ the organization confirmed. ‘And the heart-wrenching reality is that when their heroes are gone, they won’t make it long alone.’

The soldiers’ now fear for their future, particularly as dogs in the Middle East are often mistreated and seen as pests and seen as vermin. 

‘What will happen to them next scares me if they are not able to make it to safety.’

‘Since the day they were born, they have been taken care of, and they don’t know what suffering awaits them if they have to fend for themselves,’ Sgt. Rickly said.

Paws of War is now hoping Meatball and her puppies will be safely brought back to the U.S. to live by the sides of veteran soldiers who would give them a loving home. 

‘The story of Meatball and her pups is an example of how much these animals matter to our active military and the life-saving difference we can make for those animals who become family to them,’ Robert Misseri, president of Paws of War said.

‘We are doing everything we can to ensure this mission to bring them to America and back to their soldiers’ sides has a happy ending.’

Source: MailOnline

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