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Feb-12-2007 22:22TweetFollow @OregonNews
It's A Cold Dog's Life in AfghanistanTim King, in Afghanistan, for Salem-News.com
DISPATCHES FROM AFGHANISTAN
(KABUL, Afghanistan) - At this mountain encampment called Ghazni, these canine visitors keep a watchful eye on things.
At forward operating bases, they're known as FOB dogs, friends left over from the days when the base had no walls around it, when wild dogs roamed at will, and some of them found their way into the hearts of soldiers stationed here.
Life hasn't been easy for the local dogs of Ghazni Afghanistan for many years, if ever.
The base at Ghazni has been part of the landscape for decades, "I've been told the Taliban had it, the Soviets had it, the communist Army from Afghanistan had it, so it has been a military installation for a lot of years," said Major Raymond Brown of the Washington State Guard.
The dogs that survive here live in the constant upheaval of a military presence, and all that goes with it.
“There was a litter of puppies, this is all that are left now," said Major Raymond Brown of the Washington State Guard. "Most of the dogs are afraid of people, it's when you start feeding them that they get attached to you."
"We had up to 50, before we had the HESCOs put up, the dogs could come through the berms onto the base. They had about 80 a day. They would travel around in packs of up to 10."
The dogs that became domesticated were a benefit at times, keeping the more wild groups of dogs away.
Then, people complained about the dogs and their days at the base were numbered. A few soldiers laid out the cash to send some of the dogs to their homes in the states. But they all didn't make the trip, and then the rules against them tightened.
"Once they put the HESCOs up, as they were building around, they started taking the dogs and sticking them outside. The only way they get in now is through the front gates. We've got guards there and they don't let 'em in."
The dogs that once lived on the base are now just allowed an occasional day pass.
"Spanky was a FOB dog, now there are rules that you aren't going to have dogs, so she just comes in once in a while," says Major Brown as he gives the dog another pat.
For the time being, the FOB dogs at Ghazni are just short-time visitors, then, back outside the gates they go. But at other bases in Afghanistan, dogs are more welcomed and accepted, as some base commanders utilize their positive impact on the well being of soldiers facing the challenges of war.
The forward operating base at Ghazni Afghanistan is home to many Oregon National Guardsmen, and even if it isn't home for man's best friend, it is still a great place for them to visit.
Watch the Streaming Video News Report below, direct from Kabul, Afghanistan by Tim King:
To learn how to keep your pet safe in the winter, visit: PETA Offers Salem Residents Urgent Information for Safeguarding Animals During Winter Weather - Salem-News.com
In Afghanistan, Tim King, reporting for Salem-News.com
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Tim King is embedded in Kabul, Afghanistan with the 41st Combat Brigade of the Oregon National Guard. See his stories several times a week here, on Salem-News.com, and on Portland’s KPTV Fox12.
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