Deployed US Army soldiers try to arrange new home in US for stray dog named Meatball and her 8 pups

US Army Staff Sgt. Rickly and a group of fellow soldiers deployed to the Middle East are working hard to provide for a stray dog and her eight pups they encountered after she gave birth.

The soldiers have been watching over the dog they named Meatball and her sizable litter, nurturing the pack while turning to a nonprofit for help in rescuing the dogs from their plight, Fox News reported.

Rickly said in a statement provided to the network by Paws of War that from “the outside looking in, you might think I saved these puppies, but in so many ways, the pups and Meatball saved me, too.”

Paws of War

“When things back home took a turn for the worse, I became sad being so far away and it was hard to stay focused,” he 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.”

“I believe they were born under my watch for a reason,” he added.

The New York-based nonprofit is trying to help the soldiers transport the dogs to the U.S., Fox News reported.

“Without the soldiers, Meatball’s babies would have died,” Paws of War said. “And the heart-wrenching reality is that when their heroes are gone, they won’t make it long alone.”

Rickly said he was scared of what will happen to the pups if they are left behind — dogs are reportedly seen as little more than vermin in the Middle East.

“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,” the soldier said.

Robert Misseri, co-founder and president of Paws of War, told Fox News in a statement that the organization is committed to helping “every hero we can to save the life of an animal they love.”

“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,” Misseri added.


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