Stories of humans saving animals, sweet as they are, abound on the Internet. But accounts of animals saving humans, now that’s more special. Yet, perhaps best of all are those heart-warming stories of how a human and a pet saved each other.
Like Craig and Fred.
Craig Grossi was a sergeant sent to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. His unit was under near constant attack. Craig had just weathered a mortar attack when he saw a white-and-tan stray dog. Craig described it to the Dodo as having “a big goofy head and little legs”.
Now, it wasn’t unusual to see stray dogs; only they typically traveled in packs and were aggressive. This one was alone. It seemed confident, but not aggressive. There is a rule against marines taking in dogs, but eventually Craig couldn’t resist. He approached the canine with a piece of beef jerky.
The dog didn’t react in fear or anger; “[h]e wagged his tail and it blew me away”, Craig said. This canine obviously had a heart of gold.
After petting the dog a little, Craig walked away. Then he felt a bump on the back of his leg.
The dog had followed him.
One of Craig’s fellow marine shouted: “Looks like you’ve found a friend!” But Craig heard instead: “Looks like a Fred!” And the name stuck.
Over time, the other marines in Craig’s unit came to love Fred the dog, too.
Fred even came on night patrols with them. Fred was smart and knew that he had to keep quiet, even when other stray dogs barked at him.
But not everyone thought that the presence of a dog was a good thing. The military had a ban on dogs, and if they were caught, Fred would’ve been put down, and Craig would’ve been imprisoned.
Then Craig’s unit received orders to move to a new location, and the Sergeant wasn’t sure whether to take Fred or not. He said to the dog: “I need a sign”.
A helicopter arrived to pick the men up. As it hovered overhead, it sent out gusts of wind, knocking up dust and sending things flying. As Craig braced himself, “he felt a familiar poke at his heel” (thedodo.com).
Fred. The dog was scared, but wanted to come.
Dog owners everywhere are cheering.
Anyway, Craig managed smuggle Fred along with him in a duffel bag until he convinced some men from the DHL shipping company to keep Fred for him while he was gone.
Yet after all that, Craig almost didn’t return. The Sergeant suffered a brain injury from a Taliban rocket.
As he recovered, all he could think about was that dog. Hoping against hope that Fred was still safe and undiscovered, Craig returned to the shipping facility where he had left him.
He couldn’t find him.
But then, he spotted some men playing soccer, and “Fred is in the middle, running around with guys from all over the world. It was just this [beautiful,] universal moment.”
After overcoming some more obstacles, Craig was finally able to ship Fred back to the States, where he stayed with Craig’s family until Craig’s return.
When Craig got back, it was a beautiful reunion. Fred went crazy-happy. “I just lay there and just let him go crazy, and lickin’ my face,” Craig told Today.com.
Yet even now, more troubles loomed on the horizon. Craig was physically damaged after his brain trauma, and emotionally scarred after losing a close friend in combat. Craig was diagnosed with PTSD.
Craig had saved Fred. Now it was up to Fred to save Craig.
And he did.
Fred’s companionship and boundless joy set Craig on the road to recovery. Craig is now able to open up about his experiences, and he even wrote about them in his book, Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other. They both now live happily in Portland, Maine.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully, no kleenexes were needed along the way, but even if they were, my wish is that you enjoyed it anyway.
Don’t you just love happy endings?
- Today.com. https://www.today.com/pets/how-marine-dog-he-rescued-afghanistan-are-saving-each-other-t119639
- The Dodo.com. https://www.thedodo.com/marine-afghanistan-dog-rescue-2124259051.html