Marines raise money to bring Afghan puppies home from deployment

Some West Michigan Marines deployed overseas will be bringing home a little piece of Afghanistan to Michigan. They fo...

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 10:37 AM

Some West Michigan Marines deployed overseas will be bringing home a little piece of Afghanistan to Michigan. They found two puppies and with the help of loved ones back home, they raised enough money for vet bills and the long trip back home to Michigan.

Hayden Gort is currently deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. His team found a puppy going through their garbage a few weeks ago. Another platoon found a different puppy on the side of the road while out on patrol. They've been taking care of them ever since and soon they'll be on a plane back to West Michigan.

It all started three weeks ago.

"Me and my team were taking the trash out in the morning as we do every morning," said Gort. "We saw one of the trash bags moving and was somewhat empty. There was a puppy laying in it trying to dig through the trash to find food."

That's when they found the puppy they would name Sabula.

"We tried to walk up to her and she was very skiddish at first and nervous to see us," said Gort. "After a couple of minutes talking to her and trying to show her love and get her attention she finally let us touch her and pick her up. We brought her back to our base and just kind of loved on her and gave her some food. From there we just fell in love with her."

They named her Sabula after a local Afghan girl that lives near their base. Just a few weeks before they found Sabula, other Marines from the Grand Rapids area found another dog they would name Nala.

"They were out on a patrol and found her on the side of the road kind of doing the same thing looking for food, said Gort.

Hayden says they couldn't leave the dogs alone.

"When you first saw her you could just tell she needed some help," said Gort. "She had a pretty bad cut on the side of her which is now just fully healing," said Gort. "She has a scar there. She was really limping on her back-left leg and it seemed like she got kicked by one of the nationals. The people here do not treat dogs very well, so we just wanted to come feed her and show her some love and show her what she could be getting and she just wouldn't leave."

The Marines made fundraising pages to help bring the dogs back to Michigan. They needed almost $4,000 for veterinary care, vaccines and the trip home. They would raise that money in less than a week.

"We have to fly these puppies in a helicopter to Kabul where they will spend 30 to 45 days in quarantine to make sure that these Afghan puppies don't have any animal diseases that they could bring home to American dogs," said Gort. "They'll see a vet there, get all of their vaccinations and stuff there and then this company will send the puppies over to Detroit where our families will go and pick them up from there."

In the meantime, Hayden says the puppies keep them going.

"It definitely keeps our morale much higher," said Gort. "Being here in Helmand Province, it's not the greatest place to be. there's threats all over us, so having this little bit of freedom and happiness around definitely helps us a lot. We go through the days and anything could happen. It's nice getting back from a mission or back from work and having that little bit of happiness to come home to."

Hayden says he can't wait to get home and have Sabula by his side.

"It'll be a good reminder of how there are good things that can come out of this country," said Gort. "There's a lot of bad stigma about this country I feel like. There's a lot of people here that are good people. It'll be weird having her home, but it'll be a good reminder of what we're doing over here and how we're helping."

Hayden says he should be home sometime before the start of summer. Sabula and Nala should arrive in Michigan sometime in February.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 481397

Reported Deaths: 9395
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32996486
Hinds30973586
DeSoto30491353
Jackson23650348
Rankin21267368
Lee14867220
Madison14145271
Jones13365226
Forrest13125238
Lauderdale11538305
Lowndes10418176
Lamar10184130
Pearl River9055219
Lafayette8218137
Hancock7501112
Washington7033150
Oktibbeha6937124
Monroe6491161
Neshoba6463201
Warren6439163
Pontotoc626593
Panola6219126
Bolivar6105144
Marshall6102121
Union573086
Pike5590136
Alcorn536090
Lincoln5297131
George470072
Scott456096
Leflore4468140
Prentiss445277
Tippah443680
Itawamba4430100
Adams4403116
Tate4351101
Simpson4324112
Wayne431566
Copiah431087
Yazoo423086
Covington414792
Sunflower4137104
Marion4087104
Leake397186
Coahoma394298
Newton368775
Grenada3553104
Stone350659
Tishomingo334689
Attala324886
Jasper313762
Winston303591
Clay295273
Chickasaw286665
Clarke280290
Calhoun265140
Holmes261887
Smith249549
Yalobusha220547
Tallahatchie218850
Walthall210558
Greene207845
Lawrence206033
Perry199353
Amite198152
Webster195942
Noxubee178239
Montgomery172054
Jefferson Davis167642
Carroll161937
Tunica152734
Benton142035
Kemper138440
Claiborne126634
Choctaw126326
Humphreys126337
Franklin116628
Quitman103626
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson88833
Sharkey62820
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 781915

Reported Deaths: 13798
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1109621748
Mobile706071213
Madison49359617
Baldwin36054485
Shelby35933311
Tuscaloosa33540540
Montgomery32996673
Lee22337218
Calhoun20935400
Morgan19666329
Etowah18890454
Marshall17575274
Houston16598377
St. Clair15287298
Limestone14442184
Cullman14441252
Elmore14299259
Lauderdale13395278
Talladega12781234
DeKalb12102233
Walker10495328
Autauga9611135
Blount9595154
Jackson9293152
Coffee8764174
Dale8485171
Colbert8448180
Tallapoosa6557177
Escambia6541117
Covington6409165
Chilton6314142
Russell600655
Franklin5744101
Chambers5350133
Marion4748116
Dallas4672185
Clarke459177
Pike458895
Geneva4333116
Winston420292
Lawrence4099108
Bibb405680
Barbour342969
Marengo324783
Monroe316652
Butler316088
Randolph302855
Pickens300673
Henry299657
Hale290483
Cherokee286752
Fayette276473
Washington245048
Crenshaw236768
Clay226264
Cleburne225750
Macon218057
Lamar192541
Conecuh180146
Lowndes170758
Coosa167533
Wilcox159636
Bullock148642
Perry136336
Sumter124136
Greene120542
Choctaw73326
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 68°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Fall has started off exactly as you would have anticipated and it looks like we should have a number of dry days still ahead, but this isn’t a permanent switch, because heat is pegged to return.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather