An Aledo family is asking for the public’s help in bringing home a dog from Afghanistan that has been adopted by an 2010 Aledo High School graduate currently serving in the U.S. Army.
“He’s always been a dog lover,” said U.S. Army Spec. Zack McEntire’s mother, Nancy. “I wasn’t really all that surprised to hear he found a dog overseas.”
This is Zack’s second deployment during his military service. Zack and his two older brothers are all in the infantry, and Zack has been deployed once before, in Korea. This second time, he’s been in Afghanistan since August-September of last year. Nancy said communication is spotty at best and sometimes she doesn’t hear from Zack for weeks. One day toward the end of winter, when she heard from him, he had quite the story to share.
Zack was outside the base one day near a 50 foot deep burn pit filled with trash, needles, medical waste, and other debris, and he saw a puppy scavenging for food. He climbed down into the pit and rescued the puppy, adopting her on the spot. He named her Mimi, which means “wished for child.”
“I climbed into the pit to help her out and fell in love with the little pup, so I brought her inside the camp and gave her a bath and food,” said Zack. “After that day, she was with me everywhere; If I can’t get help to get her home she will be kicked out of the camp and left to fend for herself or a team of veterinarians to put her down.”
Nancy initially was wary of Zack adopting the dog until she saw the first photos.
“They both had such a huge smile on their face,” she said. “I understand it. It’s comforting and it’s a piece of home.”
Zack is set to come home in the next couple of months and he’s frantic about the idea of leaving Mimi behind. Nancy reached out to an organization called Paws of War, which provides veterans with service dogs and helps rescue dogs overseas adopted by service members.
“We immediately jumped into gear. Mimi is very special to Zack, and we will do everything we can to help keep them together,” said Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “However, bringing a dog from Afghanistan back to the United States is challenging and costly. We can’t do it without the help of the public.”
Paws of War has a particular rescue group they partner with in Afghanistan to route Mimi through a shelter, get her to the United States, get her through quarantine, and reunite her with Zack.
“I know that I saved Mimi from that burn pit, but in a way I feel like she saved me,” said Zack. “I can’t imagine leaving her behind. We belong together and it means a lot to me to be able to take her home to Texas with me.”
So far, a fundraising campaign through Paws of War has raised around $1,000 toward around $9,000 in costs. Anyone interested in donating can do so by visiting the fundraiser link here.