Here it is….almost a year since I helped welcome home Charlie, the first Operation Baghdad Pup military mascot to reach US soil. Charlie landed at Dulles International Airport on February 14, 2008. Mark, Cinnamon, and I were there to see him take his first steps in the good ol' US of A. I had hoped from that moment to be able to make a trip to the Middle East with OBP and help bring mascots home for our soldiers serving. And now my dream is about to become a reality. I am headed to Baghdad for Mission # 19. I am scheduled to leave on Monday, Feb 9, make a few layovers on the way and land in Baghdad on Wed Feb 11.
It's sort of hard to believe. I almost bailed on going….not that I am afraid or anything like that. (Although I have yet to break the news to Mom just yet!). It's just that my world was recenlty turned upside down. My Dad passed away unexpectedly just over a month ago. Losing him has been really hard. But he knew that I wanted to join one of these missions to help bring these pups and kitties home, to help give them a better life than the one that they might otherwise live out if they are left behind. He knew I would go sooner or later. And so, just as my Dad would not sit around doing nothing, I too am getting back in motion. Yes, Mom, I am going to Baghdad.
It was also my vision from the start…that somehow Saving Cinnamon (which is a whole other story ) would lead us -- Mark, Cinnamon, and myself -- to be able to help save other mascots. I didn't know exactly how that would happen, but that is indeed exactly what is happening. Cinnamon's amazing journey, in part, led to the creation of SPCA International's program Operation Baghdad Pups. A program I support wholeheartedly. And, now, to see my vision of saving other mascot dogs and cats become a reality is truly a privilege. So here I am, almost 2 years from the time we saved Cinnamon, going over to Baghdad with Operation Baghdad Pups to help give a few soldiers a coming home present ...their mascots delivered safe and sound to US soil. Feels just a little patriotic….unexpectedly so. Pretty cool huh?