HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (WXMI/CNN) – Some Marines from Michigan raised $4,000 in less than a week in order to bring home two puppies they rescued while deployed.
Marine Hayden Gort and his team found a puppy digging through the trash for food a few weeks ago in Afghanistan.
"After a couple minutes of talking to her and trying to show her love and get her attention, she finally let us touch her and pick her up. We brought her back to our base and just kind of loved on her and gave her some food. From there, [we] just fell in love with her," Gort said.
The Marines named the puppy Sabula after an Afghan girl who lives near their base.
Just a few weeks before, other Marines from Michigan found a different dog on the side of the road. That dog was also searching for food, and the Marines named her Nala.
Gort says they couldn't leave the dogs alone.
"People here do not treat dogs very well, so we just wanted to come feed her and show her some love and show her what she could be getting, and she just wouldn't leave," Gort said.
The Marines made fundraising pages to help bring the dogs back to Michigan. They needed almost $4,000 for veterinary care, vaccines and the trip home, and they raised the money in less than a week.
As they wait to send Sabula and Nala to Michigan, Gort says the puppies keep them going.
"It definitely keeps our morale much higher. Being here in Helmand Province, it's not the greatest place to be. There's threats all over us, so having this kind of little bit of freedom and happiness around us, it definitely helps a lot because we go through the days and anything could happen," Gort said.
Gort says he can't wait to get home and have Sabula by his side.
"It'll be a good reminder of how there are good things that can come out of this country. There's a lot of bad stigma about this country, I feel like. There's a lot of people here and animals here that are good people," Gort said.
Sabula and Nala should hopefully be getting to Michigan in February. Gort says he should be home sometime before the start of summer.