Citizen Airman Nurse In 920th Rescue Wing Adopts Refugee Puppy From Afghanistan

By  //  June 10, 2017

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Lt. Col. Mary Murphy served as a nurse practitioner for 22 years

Last month Air Force Reserve nurse, Lt. Col. Mary Murphy, 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, opened her arms to a new puppy that was left to die in the desert after its mother was shot and killed in Afghanistan, according to No Buddy Left Behind, a non-profit organization geared toward helping deployed servicemembers rescue animals from neglectful and abusive situations. Murphy met her new arrival from the Middle East at the Orlando Airport, an 18-lb. ball of fluff named Crackers. (Courtesy photo via 920th Rescue Wing )

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – Flagler Beach resident and Citizen Airman Lt. Col. Mary Murphy knows something about caring for others. Not only has she served as a nurse practitioner for 22 years in the civilian world, but she serves as an Air Force Reserve nurse in the 920th Rescue Wing.

Last month, Murphy opened her arms to a new puppy that was left to die in the desert after its mother was shot and killed in Afghanistan, according to No Buddy Left Behind, a non-profit organization geared toward helping deployed servicemembers rescue animals from neglectful and abusive situations.

Murphy met her new arrival from the Middle East at the Orlando Airport, an 18-lb. ball of fluff named Crackers.

“When I saw him I knew he was mine forever…The compatibility match with this pooch is ideal,” said Murphy.

Lt. Col. Mary Murphy (right), 920th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and her son get to know their new puppy Crackers after adopting it in May 2017 from Afghanistan. Its mother was shot and killed, according to No Buddy Left Behind, a non-profit organization geared toward helping deployed servicemembers rescue animals from neglectful and abusive situations. (Courtesy photo via 920th Rescue Wing)

The puppy is a Canaan – a common dog breed in the Middle East used for desert herding and the “oldest breed known to man,” said Murphy. “They do well in hot climates so Florida will be a great place for it.”

NBLB saved Crackers and its 2 siblings, then found them all homes.

“He is doing great!-loves Flagler Beach and the sand, and barks at the ocean,” said Murphy.

A veterans’ support group Murphy belongs to, Red White and Blue, posted Crackers’ photo, and she fell in love.

“My 5-year-old dog died a year ago and I take pet ownership very seriously. I knew when the time was right the opportunity would present itself, and it did,” said Murphy.

“I came to the Air force late in life (active duty right after 911) and my AF career may be at its end due to a physical limitation so I look at this as a fitting end to a meaningful chapter in my life,” said Murphy who got service dog status for her new pup.

“I am looking forward to the puppy obedience/training class for us both,” said Murphy.

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While the cost of Crackers’ travel and medical expenses was approximately $5,000, Murphy had no financial obligation her new pup’s adoption due to NBLB’s fundraising efforts.

“The only thing NBLB asked of me was if I had a military coin to pass on,” said Murphy.

NBLB is part of a larger non-profit organization, Guardians of Rescue. Its mission is to foster programs and activities that further the unique benefits and interaction between people and animals.


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