Soldier Reunited with the Dog Who Saved His Life

After a dog named Rufus helped fend off a suicide bomber, Sgt. Chris Duke decided to bring him home.

While Sgt. Chris Duke, a National Guardsman, was serving in Afghanistan, he and his fellow troops made good friends with a few of the stray dogs, who the soldiers named Sasha, Target, and Rufus. So when the dogs had a chance to defend the soldiers, they didn’t back down.

One February night, an insurgent covered in explosives tried to enter the soldiers’ quarters to kill the 50 men inside. But he didn’t count on the dogs: the three strays began barking and biting the suicide bomber, trying to keep him from harming the people inside. When his explosives detonated, he was killed, but all of the American troops remained safe.

Sadly, one of the dogs, Sasha, was severely injured by the bomb, and had to be euthanized. But both Rufus and Target survived the assault, and were celebrated as heroes by the soldiers they had saved.

When Duke finished his tour of duty and returned home the following month, he wanted to bring his loyal friend Rufus along—but military regulations wouldn’t allow it. So, after returning to Atlanta, Duke wrote to a veterans’ assistance group, Hope for the Warriors, asking for their help to bring the two dogs overseas.

“This was going to mean a lot to him,” the group’s president, Robin Kelleher, told CBS. “So whatever we needed to do to get this wish done we were going to do that.” Another grassroots group, launched on Facebook, raised over $21,000 to pay for the dogs to be flown to the United States.

Now, Target has been transported to Arizona to live with another soldier, and Rufus has just arrived in Atlanta, where he’ll live out the rest of his days with Duke and his family. Duke is thrilled to make the commitment to care for Rufus for the rest of his life—in his eyes, it’s the least he could do for his furry friend.

“I firmly believe I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for him,” he said.

Check out the video.