Ratchet has come home! He arrived in MN on Oct 22nd. Read about it and see some news footage here: http://www.getfreshminds.com/2008/10/ratchet-mn.html
Ratchet wasn't released in time to make the Baghdad Pups rescue flight today, but he was released! Baghdad Pups is going to go back for him on Sunday:
Ratchet is alive, despite the fact that someone put him in a meat freezer for over 8 hours this weekend. Baghdad Pups is attempting to make another rescue attempt this week. Please keep your fingers crossed for him!
On Monday, I posted about the plight of Ratchet, the dog my friend Gwen rescued during her deployment in Iraq.
Over the last two days, the post on Ratchet was dugg over 6600 times, made the top of the top page in Digg, has over 800 comments and is currently the #6 post overall from the last 7 days!
It's absolutely unbelievable. As Gwen wrote to me, she is "completely amazed with the response." She also said to tell everyone: "You are all wonderful. Thank you for supporting me!"
I also want to say, thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who is helping!
Because I know you want to know, here's what is going on:
Last Wednesday, Ratchet was in a convoy actually on the way to the airport. Some soldiers had volunteered to take him and drop him off with Baghdad Pups. When the military found out about this, however, they stopped the convoy and confiscated Ratchet.
According to Stephanie from Baghdad Pups, this is unprecedented. Normally, Baghdad Pups has no problem taking dogs or cats away from war zones.
However, the military refused to let Ratchet leave for some unknown reason. He does not have an official "job" on the base, so she was not taking him unlawfully. His ownership was also not under dispute.
At the moment, Ratchet is not being physically threatened. He is simply not allowed to leave. This is a big problem because Gwen leaves in October and the last chance Baghdad Pups has to get him out is next week. If Ratchet does not get out before she leaves, he will have to be abandoned and will face certain death.
Gwen wrote to say: (I've shortened it for this post. Read the whole thing here.)
I am sad beyond comprehension to have Ratchet back. I wanted him in the arms of my parents, not back in mine here.
I was exuberant when Ratchet drove away. I thought we're pulled off a major feat. I instantly started dreaming about going home to my wagging-so-hard-his-body-wiggles dog...
...My plan for Ratchet is simple: take him home, train him as a service dog, and love him until his last day. Ratchet would be a valuable asset for troops back home. Who better to tell your troubles to than a dog who has been there, who won't judge you, and who will love you unconditionally no matter what you had to do to survive? ...
Ratchet is first-line defense against PTSD and suicide. He has made me think twice about some seriously self-damaging actions several times. He really has helped me to survive....
...Thank you to all the outraged people speaking out about this travesty. I very sincerely hope that Ratchet is sitting in my yard when I finally go home. Thank you.
(Read the whole update from Gwen)
HERE ARE THE CURRENT PROBLEMS:
ISSUE 1: Ratchet is not allowed to leave.
Since the military is refusing to let Ratchet go, he needs a military order to officially release him to leave Iraq.
ISSUE 2: Baghdad Pups needs donations to sponsor their upcoming trip to Iraq.
Ratchet was scheduled to leave on their October 6th flight. Their next flight is next week, and Ratchet must be on it. Gwen will be shipping out later this month and Ratchet will have to be abandoned if he doesn't leave before her.
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
Stephanie from Baghdad Pups told me several ways that people can help save Ratchet.
First, contact Minnesota senators and representatives (even if you're not from here).
Here are some details:
- Ratchet is at COP Meade, near Baghdad in Iraq
- 15 other dogs were allowed to leave last week with Baghdad Pups on the flight Ratchet was supposed to be on.
- The military seized Ratchet on his way to the airport.
- Ratchet is healthy and there is no physical reason to deny him from leaving.
- Ratchet needs a military release because the military is refusing to let him leave Iraq.
Calling is best because Senators and Representatives get thousands of emails. However, click here for a sample email if you prefer that.
Here is the Contact information for the MN Senators and Gwen's Representative:
Senator Amy Klobuchar:
(888) 224-9043 -or- (612) 727-5220
Senator Norm Coleman:
(800) 642-6041 -or- (651) 645-0323
Representative Keith Ellison,
(West Twin Cities, Minneapolis)
Second, donate to Baghdad Pups!
When Ratchet is released, Baghdad Pups needs to be able to pick him up from Iraq. Since Sgt Beberg will be transferred at the end of the month, Ratchet must be on Baghdad Pups next trip.
By donating to them, you will not only help Ratchet get home, but you will also help other soldiers save their dogs and cats.
As Gwen told me, "The [Baghdad Pups] program manager has made it pretty clear in her emails to those with animals that if some immediate funding doesn't roll in, they may not be able to rescue all the animals on the schedule for this fall. That would be terribly sad."
Third, pass this story along.
Tell your friends and let them know how they can help. The more people working to help Ratchet, the better.
Join the Facebook Page.
Digg this page and help Ratchet's plight get more attention.
Thank you to everyone for their support and help getting attention for Ratchet. Let's keep this amazing story going.
Any media inquiries should come to me. I can help you get in touch with the right people at Baghdad Pups.