Sergeant Erin Gutherie with the Oregon Army National Guard talked about the tie officially met the dog she had kept an eye on for months while deployed in Kosovo. “I was nervous because it was a stray dog approaching me,” she explained. “But I could just tell by the way that he was coming toward me, his mannerisms, he just… he wanted a friend and he didn’t have a pack. He didn’t have anyone he was with. I was honored that he would come up to me and I just felt an instant connection with him.”
Sgt. Guthrie was overseas on a peacekeeping mission for eight months. But seeing the dog brought the 28 year old peace being away from home. “Having him nearby brought brightness to a pretty hard situation,” she said.
When she left a few weeks ago, all she kept thinking about was the dog she named Meeka.
“I actually started looking for a dog when I was in quarantine on my way home and I looked for a few days and I was like, ‘I just want that dog,” she said.
She eventually came across Long Island-based Paws of War which through its war-torn pups program raised over $6,000 dollars to get Meeka safely to the U.S. and reunited with Guthrie.
Robert Misseri is the co-found of Paws of War. He explained, “There’s a lot of obstacles, there’s a lot of paperwork. There’s quarantine process that goes into this but we feel it’s all worth it and, with all the bad going on in the world, this is something we can give back to do a little good.”
The dog, wagging its tail, found the comfort of a friend thousands of miles away, in her arms, which is home.
Guthrie said, “I was nervous that he wouldn’t recognize me but the fact that he pulls into me just the same way and he recognizes me he knows me and that’s an amazing feeling.”
The dog’s name, “Meeka,” is short for a word that means “friendship” or “brotherhood” in Albanian, a language spoken in Kosovo. Guthrie certainly found that with her forever furry friend.
Since 2013, more than 100 animals have been brought back by Paws of War.