Aug 2, 2010 9:14 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
The details of that night in Afghanistan this past February are still fuzzy for National Guardsman Sgt. Chris Duke.
He remembers the explosion and being wounded, but he will never forget what the three dogs his unit adopted did for him and his buddies.
Now Sgt. Duke is repaying the favor.
Thanks to a group called "Hope For The Warriors," Rufus and Target, two of those dogs, were flown to Atlanta from Afghanistan to begin new lives with Chris and Lauren Duke.
"To have a beautiful thing come out of a conflict that is so difficult for everyone," said Robin Kelleher, founder of Hope For The Warriors, "It's just a great story."
Rufus, Target and Sasha took to Sgt. Duke and his unit in Paktia province in Afghanistan.
One night in February they began acting strangely.
"They heard the dogs just going crazy," Duke said of his fellow soldiers' reaction that night. "Like, abnormally crazy. And they yelled for them to be quiet."
The dogs attacked a suicide bomber who attempted to enter the barracks.
The bomber detonated his bomb, killing himself and the dog Sasha, and seriously wounding Rufus.
Sgt. Duke and his buddies treated Rufus' wounds every day, and then Duke shipped out.
"We were trying to make plans to get them back to the States," Duke said. "And we were told it wasn't possible...forget about it."
It was possible, and now Sgt. Chris Duke has saved the lives of the dogs who saved his.