A US soldier stationed in the Middle East has one Father’s Day wish this year: to save the puppy he found near base and get it to his family in Utah.
US Army Sgt. Macintire, a dad of six currently on his 15th deployment overseas, found the pup he named CJ while out on patrol and is now hoping he can transport her back home with the help of supporters and the New York-based non-profit Paws of War.
“Getting CJ back to my family in Utah will be the best Father’s Day present,” Macintire told The Post. “He was meant to be with my family. It’s going to be great!”
The soldier, who can’t disclose his first name or the country where he is stationed, came across CJ when she was still nursing from her mother alongside a dusty road close to base.
When he walked over to get a closer look, he saw CJ and her siblings were in bad shape and in need of help. But their doggy dad, who was later named Cooper, came between Macintire and the babies, forcing him to keep his distance.
Macintire decided to give it another shot the next day and came back with some other soldiers and some food so he could start gaining Cooper’s trust.
“While Cooper remained protective, Sgt. Macintire didn’t give up. Having been raised in a boy’s group home, he admired Cooper’s protective fatherly nature for his family,” Paws of War told The Post.
“He was patient in waiting for Cooper to trust him and begin taking food, leading to him being allowed to get close to the pups.”
The soldiers soon forged a bond with the dog family and spent time playing with them and feeding them until one day, the pooches suddenly vanished.
Soon, Macintire made a grisly discovery – Cooper’s body.
As the soldiers kept searching for the rest of the family, they only managed to find one puppy still around, and she was sick, afraid and in desperate need of assistance.
Macintire said he “vowed to become” the dog’s new dad and christened her Cooper Junior, or CJ for short, and reached out to Paws of War for help.
The non-profit helps soldiers navigate the complicated process of transporting animals they rescue overseas back to the US and immediately stepped in to first relocate CJ to an emergency clinic in the Middle East so she could get the critical veterinary care that she needed.
The ailing pup nearly didn’t make it. but now, she’s back in one piece and eager to meet her new forever family in Utah, Paws of War said.
“We are always happy to help our soldiers get the animals they saved while deployed, to their families, so they are waiting for them when the soldier returns home,” said Dereck Cartright, a disabled veteran who works as a stateside logistics coordinator for the non-profit.
“But it’s something we can’t do alone. We [need] support [from] people in the community to help cover the costs. Every small donation adds up to a big successful mission.”
The group is collecting donations for the effort on their website.
“CJ has fought to live, and after all she has been through, she deserves some good on her side,” Macintire said.
“I want her to have a safe and happy life with no more suffering.”