Saturday, March 10, 2012


Scott from Bill in Exhile posted this last week and it has stuck with me. I received many comments on last week's Dogably Pawfect post and thought this was a pawfect follow-up. Be sure to grab some tissues. 


{Posted in MarinesThe Animals on March 4th, 2012 by Scott }

This is Marine Private First Class Colton Rusk and his bomb sniffing dog Eli. Rusk was hit by sniper fire in Afghanistan and when he went down the first Marine to his side was Eli, who bit another Marine who had come to Rusk’s aid — so dedicated to Rusk was the dog.

By all accounts from the Marines who served with them the two were inseparable.
Military dogs are supposed to sleep in kennels when deployed, but Rusk broke the rules and let Eli curl up with him on his cot. Other times, the dog took up the entire sleeping bag. Rusk ate ready-to-eat meals, so that’s what Eli ate instead of dog food. “Whatever is mine is his,” Colton Rusk wrote on his Facebook page.

After Rusk died his parents decided they wanted to adopt his dog in order to help them through their grief and to have a still living and breathing part of their son Colton in their lives. They contacted the  United States Marine Corps and made the unusual request and the Marine Corps, being the Marine Corps, said sure, why not? Even though tens of thousands of dollars had been invested in the training of Eli and he was still considered “operational”. The Marine Corps and the Secretary of the Navy considered the welfare of a grieving Marine family to be a bit more important than the money.

It was only the second time that a U.S. military dog has been adopted by the family of a handler killed in combat. The Rusks picked Eli up at Lackland Air Force base when he rotated back from Afghanistan and they took him back to their home in rural South Texas. Where he lives in comfortable retirement today.

 Sent to me by a reader on this photo I posted last week:

"I live here. I gave money to Puppy Rescue Mission which shipped this dog Smoke home. Donnie may still Be in Walter Reed where Obama visited him. He has since had a metal plate put in his head to protect the damage done. This is a sacrifice from a kid who lived in one of  the richest suburbs in Orlando. Doesn't make him better or more important and his family are hard core Republicans. Any way they ask you at Puppy Rescue Mission to ask four people to give twenty five dollars so these war dogs can be shipped home or cared for in the US. You may already know all this . Thanks for reading . The other three people I asked contributed . Even though Scott covered a lot of this, you could reinforce it . Dwight W."
Special thanks to Peter for the Pawfect banner!

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  1. It's sad but at the same time it's wonderful that the Marines made an exception and honored his parent's request.

    Happy Saturday!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Sean. There's money going to Puppy Rescue Mission from this side of the Atlantic.

  3. A triumph out of adversity, well done USMC!

  4. love the story. Thanks for sharing it with us.



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