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Vt. Guard finds Green Mountain home for stray pup - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Guard finds Green Mountain home for stray pup

Connie at her new home in Vermont. Connie at her new home in Vermont.
Connie in Afghanistan with her friends in the Guard. Connie in Afghanistan with her friends in the Guard.

Fair Haven, Vermont - July 12, 2010

At first glance, Connie seems like a normal dog. She likes sniffing around, being scratched and the occasional chew toy. She's a typical dog, but she has a very unique story.

Connie was rescued by a group of Vermont National Guard soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

"They were out on patrol and they found this little tiny puppy wrapped up in wire. Concertina wire," Nancy Depalma of Chester says. "They brought her back and nursed her to health. They fell in love with her she was the mascot for their whole company,and they named her Connie."

"They do their work all day. They are on duty 24-hours-a-day and this just gave them a little bit of a break," Sarah Bleau of Milton says of the little dog. "She was there to love them and they were there to love her and that's something you normally wouldn't see over there."

Depalma's husband Steve and Bleau's brother Loren, both of whom were recently re-deployed overseas, were two of Connie's rescuers. Depalma said Steve immediately fell in love with her.

"He was like, 'If we can keep her, just bring her home!'" Depalma says, remembering her husband's love for Connie.

So the efforts began. Bleau started looking into ways of getting Connie from the Middle East to Vermont. In the process, she came in contact with an organization called NowZad Dogs that specializes in getting canines out of Afghanistan.

"It was started by a soldier who was in Afghanistan who rescued dogs of his own from there," Bleau says of NowZad Dogs.

The organization orchestrated the travel arrangements, but it came with a cost that Bleau estimates was close to $3,500.

Bleau used Facebook as a way to get the word out and raise funds for Connie's trip, an effort Bleau says paid off.

"I mean we got donations of $500, $50, $5, from people everywhere," she says.

After many months of planning, Connie arrived safely on American soil last Saturday and was given to her new family Sunday evening.

"She's going to be in a good place and she is going to be well taken care of," Bleau says. "She is going to be able to live her life like a dog should. If she had stayed over there she wouldn't have."

Connie's new home will be on the Plan B Farm in Chester.

"She's been traveling for such a long time. She must wake up every day like, 'Now where am I?' Hopefully now she'll be able to relax and we'll put a little weight on her and she'll be at home," Depalma says.

Connie will be joining two other dogs, Pete and Ruby, along with a barn full of new friends.

"We are animal people and she will fit right in," Depalma says.

Now all Connie has to do is meet her new friends and settle in while waiting until November for Steve to come home.

However, the fund raising for Connie's trip and vet bills is not quite complete. The group is holding a Calcutta fundraising event on July 24 in Essex and needs to sell more tickets. All proceeds will go to funding Connie's trip and NowZad Dogs. More information on the event can be found in the InfoCenter.

Molly Smith - WCAX News

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