Texans Help Soldier Raise Money Needed to Bring His Rescued Puppy Home

Zack McEntire rescued this puppy from a garage pit in Afghanistan. He needs $6,000 for expenses to bring her to the United States. Paws of War

Mimi, an Afghan hound puppy, is coming to her new home to be reunited with the soldier who rescued her from a "burn pit," thanks to the generosity of people who donated money to pay for the cost of transporting her.

Robert Misseri, a co-founder of Paws of War, a nonprofit organization that helps reunite soldiers with their dogs they befriended while serving overseas, said well over the $6,000 needed to bring Mimi to the United States was raised. Misseri said he and his volunteers are tallying the final numbers.

"Texans really kicked in big time," Misseri said.

In March, U.S. Army Spc. Zack McEntire, who is from Aledo, found Mimi at the bottom of a burn pit used to dispose of medical waste. McEntire climbed in to the 50-foot pit to save the puppy, and the two became inseparable.

McEntire is stationed in a mountainous area of Afghanistan, and Mimi was his angel, his mother, Nancy McEntire previously told the Star-Telegram.

Mimi is in quarantine at an organization called Nowzad, where she is getting vaccinations and obedience training. Nowzad was started by a British officer to care for dogs rescued by soldiers. It says it is the first animal shelter in Afghanistan; the organization also established a donkey sanctuary.

Nowzad also arranges for dogs and cats rescued by soldiers in war zones to travel safely to the clinic, where they are vaccinated and the necessary paperwork is completed to get the animals to the U.S.

When Mimi comes home, trainers will be available to work with Mimi, Misseri said.

At the end of June, Mimi will fly to the United States, where she will be reunited with McEntire. Misseri said he doesn't know if Mimi and Zack will meet again in Texas or at the base where he is stationed.

It is not easy transporting a dog from a remote region in Afghanistan, he said.

"Anything can go wrong, deadly wrong at any given time in Afghanistan," Misseri said.

The person who comes to pick up the dog must be disguised to look like the locals, he said.

"If they see that it's an American, that will tip off the bad guys."

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz ___

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