"It began with a simple act of kindness to save an abused, injured dog from becoming one more victim in the Iraq war. But what followed for Marine Maj. Brian Dennis and the mutt was a tale of friendship and loyalty that spanned miles and overcame long odds — one set to take a turn Friday with the anticipated arrival here of the Marine's best friend.
"This dog who had been through a lifetime of fighting, war, abuse ... is going to live the good life," Dennis told his family in an e-mail from Iraq."
While on patrol in the Anbar province, Dennis spotted what appeared to be a gray and white, male German shepherd-border collie mix. He named the dog Nubs after learning someone cut the ears off believing it would make the dog more aggressive and alert.
What savage bastards!
Within weeks, Nubs was greeting Dennis during routine patrol stops along border communities. The Marines fed him bits of their food and by November, the Marine and his unit were keeping an eye out for the dog, which routinely chased their Humvees when they departed.
Life on the run, however, was taking a toll on the dog. He had lost a tooth and been bitten in the neck. In late December, Dennis found Nubs near death in freezing temperatures. The dog had been stabbed with a screwdriver.
Dennis rubbed antibiotic creme on the wound and slept with Nubs to keep him warm. "I really expected when I woke up for watch he would be dead. Somehow he made it through the night."
Dennis thought he had seen the last of the dog days later when his squad headed back to its command post some 65 miles away. He couldn't take the dog with him and watched as it tried to follow the Humvees away from the border.
Two days later, while Dennis and a comrade were working on a Humvee, he looked up and saw the dog staring at him.
"Somehow that crazy damned dog tracked us," he wrote.
But the reunion was short lived. Military policy prohibits having pets in war zones, and Dennis was given four days to get the dog off the base or kill him.
The decision was easy: Nubs was going to San Diego!
If that doesn't make you feel good, check for a pulse.
Well done, Major.
Well done, Major.
And isn't Nubs lovely?