Puppy Be Gone: Minn. soldier could lose her best friend


I imagine there is nothing more comforting to a solider stuck in Iraq than the love of a puppy. So, I imagine it must feel like getting shot in the face when the U.S. Military seizes that puppy and investigates the solider for wrongdoing.

But, according to an Oct. 1st press release put out by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International, that's just what happened to Minnesota Sgt. Gwen Beberg.

Beberg had been working with the organization's

Baghdad Pups

program for months to get Ratchet, a dog befriended by a group of soldiers during her deployment, to be sent home to Minnesota where her parents would care for the animal until she returned.

But, late last week as Ratchet was on its way to the airport, "Beberg's commanding officers ordered the dog confiscated and held in Iraq to face certain death," SPCA International reports.

It is against military regulations for active duty troops to befriend animals - Soldiers can face immediate court-marshal and some even see their animals brutally murdered by a direct gunshot to the head from commanding officers who will not bend the rules. Hundreds of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East befriend animals in the war zone to help themselves cope with the hardship and terror they face every day. These dogs and cats become their lifeline - saving them from deep depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Beberg has been writing about Ratchet on her Facebook page for months, blogs Katie Konrath, a college friend of Beberg."[Iraq] hasn't been easy for her--and the puppy she saved has been one of the few things that has kept her going."

She's shared pictures of him as he grew from a frightened ball of fur to an adorable young dog. We learned when he was accepted into Baghdad Pups, and how her parents were going to take care of him until she returned home. She's kept us up-to-date on his travel schedule, and badgered us into contributing money to bring him home.

Beberg has served in Iraq for more than 15 months past her original commitment due to the stop-loss policy. Her parents told SPCA International that the animal helped their daughter deal with her elongated deployment.

"This year has been extremely difficult on my daughter and her family. It has been a year of disappointments, loneliness, and fear because of all the sacrifices the army has required of Gwen. Ratchet was the savior of her sanity. Now they have cruelly ripped Ratchet away from her and sentenced him to death. I don't know how my daughter will cope. Ratchet has been her lifeline," explains Sgt. Beberg's mother, Patricia Beberg.

For more information how you can help visit Konrath's website. "We want to get news out there about her case before the military decides to "eliminate the problem" by killing her dog."

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