The story of Poptart
Dear TPRM Family,
I just woke up a few minutes ago (12hr difference from the West Coast) and I am so overwhelmed by the last 10 hours. It is truly amazing and a dream come true. Just know that there are still so many people out there who care and are willing to give a helping hand is unbelievable. Operating in a worn-torn country like Afghanistan, has a tendency to bring you down. Seeing dogs and other animals abused and roaming the streets, and knowing that you can't do anything to help them is a hard pill to swallow. Then a dog like Poptart comes along, and with all she has survived, are paths cross and all our lives are changed forever. She has beat all odds, and as I know all too well from living in Vegas, that's a one-in-a million. We are not lucky, we are fortunate and forever indebted to you and all the others who have made our dreams come true.
A heart-felt thank you from our family to yours,
Sarah, David and Poptart
The story of a soldier, his girl and his pups
The Puppy Rescue Mission ("TPRM") is the brainchild of Anna Cannan, president and founding member of TPRM. Anna’s idea for TPRM began when her fiancé, Chris, was deployed to and stationed in Afghanistan. A few weeks prior to Chris’s arrival at his combat outpost, a suicide bomber entered the post in the middle of the night. The dogs on the post immediately started barking and took off in pursuit of the bomber. One of the dogs, Rufus, grabbed the bomber’s leg while two other dogs, Target and Sasha, alerted the troops.
Realizing his cover was blown, the suicide bomber blew himself up never making it into the living quarters of the soldiers. Thankfully, all the soldiers survived the attack with only a few sustaining injuries. Sasha did not survive the attack and was laid to rest at the post. Target, who was badly injured in the blast, was later nursed back to health along with Rufus.
Shortly after the attack, Chris and the other soldiers arrived at the post where they befriended the dogs as well as Target’s litter of puppies who were only 4-5 weeks old. Being the animal lover that Chris is, he and some of the other soldiers started taking care of the dogs on the post in their spare time. As time went by, the dogs became very fond of the soldiers who were caring for them. An instant, unbreakable bond formed between the soldiers and the dogs as the dogs provided a sense of normalcy for the soldiers at Chris’s post that rarely exists in a country like Afghanistan.
The soldiers at Chris’s post continued feeding the dogs from their own plates, caring for the dogs on a daily basis but, most of all, treating the dogs as if they were their very own. According to Anna, she didn’t hear from Chris very often but when she did, she could literally "hear the smile on Chris’s face as his voice would light up when he would talk about all the dogs at the post". Realizing his time at the post would eventually come to an end, Chris spoke with Anna about the idea of bringing some of the dogs back to the States.
Anna then brain stormed as to how to raise funds to help bring back to the States 7 of the dogs, affectionately known as "THE LUCKY SEVEN". While juggling work and school, Anna began her fundraising efforts by selling candles and running an online raffle to help rescue the dogs. Realizing that transporting 7 dogs back from Afghanistan was a very expensive process, Anna decided to start a Facebook page for her fundraising cause which became known as "Puppy Rescue Mission". At the time, the cost of rescuing a dog from Afghanistan was about $3,000 which was utilized to cover the cost of the dog's vaccinations, transport from the base to the shelter, transport to the nearby airport as well as airfare from Afghanistan to the dog's respective new home.
TPRM supporters on Facebook began to grow at an amazing rate of speed as did the donations being made to support Anna’s fundraising cause. Once enough money was raised to transport "THE LUCKY SEVEN" back to the States though, Anna decided that TPRM needed to continue as there were many more soldiers who, like Chris, needed help in bringing their furry friends home from Afghanistan.
While the military does not condone befriending animals, dogs and cats alike tend to find their way into the hearts of many, many soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. According to Anna, "it’s as if the animals know the difference between the heart of an American versus that of an Afghan as Chris would tell her stories of how dogs growl at the Afghan soldiers but show nothing but love towards American soldiers." So, Anna felt it only fitting to continue in her fundraising efforts through TPRM as a tribute to all those soldiers who have served our country as well as to all the animals who have loved the soldiers and who have been heroes in their own right.
In founding TPRM, Anna recognized that there are thousands of stray animals without homes in the States. Anna felt though that the mission of TPRM was extremely important as it would bring to light the horrible conditions which animals are exposed to in Afghanistan. According to the Afghan culture, if a person is bitten by a dog, the person cannot get to Allah, the god Afghans worship, as dogs are considered to be a disgrace. Animals in Afghanistan are literally treated like trash, used for target practice, blown up, run over and used in fights in the case of many, many dogs. If an animal is lucky enough to find its way to a U.S. base and is befriended by the soldiers, then the base becomes the animal’s home, a sanctuary where the animal finds love for the very first time in the animal’s life. As such, Anna felt it should be TPRM’s mission to help these animals as it would be devastating to turn them back out into the wild when many have never known a different way of life.
As for the dogs at the posts, Anna says that they amazingly learn to protect the soldiers like Rufus, Target and Sasha did that evening when they prevented a suicide bomber from killing over 50 soldiers. In light of such heroic efforts like those of Sasha, Target and Rufus, Anna believes that "no soldier should ever be faced with the decision of leaving a beloved animal in Afghanistan if there is a way to get the animal back to the soldier’s home so the mission of TPRM simply has to continue on."
Since the rescue of "THE LUCKY SEVEN", TPRM, through the efforts of Anna and several close confidantes, has continued to grow exceeding the expectations of even Anna herself. Within just 9 short months of its initial inception on Facebook, TPRM has raised money to bring many dogs home and is continuing to grow each and every day, helping more and more soldiers to bring their furry friends from Afghanistan back home. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in the United States and all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
Due to the tireless efforts of Anna and her confidantes, TPRM is no longer just a fundraising cause ... it’s an "official non-profit organization" working directly with several organizations in Afghanistan in arranging medical care for the soldiers’ animals as well as transportation for the animals to their forever homes. TPRM is also assisting certain organizations from time to time in re-homing stray animals from Afghanistan to the States.
Anna, TPRM’s board of directors as well as TPRM’s advisory members would like to thank each and every person who supports the mission of TPRM. TPRM considers each and every one of its supporters to be an integral part of the TPRM family. Without its family, TPRM would not be able to continue helping soldiers and their furry friends alike in maintaining the unbreakable bonds of love formed in Afghanistan, a country where very little humanity and normalcy exists.
TPRM thanks you again for your continued support and donations. Many blessings and best wishes to you all!
Anna Cannan, President of TPRM