Soldier Reunites With Dog Rescued From Afghanistan | News
CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y.- As staff Sargent Bob Cook's family stood anxiously awaiting his arrival from a year-long tour in Afghanistan, due to airport policy, one very excited four-legged family member had to stay behind, to wait at home for the soldier who'd saved her life.
The last time Cook saw Rio she was a tiny puppy struggling to survive.
"She wasn't able to move, she was definitely shaking a little bit, and was definitely very hungry," said Cook.
He found her stuck in some old equipment at the base in Afghanistan last fall.
"The wild dog population comes in and gets pretty overpowering in between the bases, and they just come in and collect them all up and they euthanize them," said Cook.
Not about to let that happen to Rio, he started planning to save her; but he soon realized the plan itself would take a lot of saving. It would cost $4,000 to bring Rio to the U.S. Back home in Cheektowaga, his wife Kristin was, at first, a little reluctant.
"I was very mad at him because he wanted to bring another dog home, and I told him he was crazy," said Kristin Cook with a smile.
But she soon gave in and even made an appearance on WGRZ, asking for donations to help bring the pup with the exotic name to a new home a world away.
"The money came in so fast, and I just couldn't even believe it," said Kristin Cook.
By November, Rio had a new home, but Bob was only halfway through his tour in Afghanistan, and four months in dog years means they're making up for a lot of lost time.
"She's definitely a lot bigger and she can move and walk, and she's very beautiful, a lot different than she would actually look like, because I knew her parents, and she's a very nice dog," said Cook.
Bob and Kristin Cook used a British charity, Nowzad, to collect money to bring Rio home. The program's goal is to help save stray animals from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even though they are no longer collecting money, you can read more about Rio's story here.