Here is Carter's story!
I adopted my first dog when I was in college. I found her at my local animal shelter, and I immediately fell in love with her. We were inseparable for the next fourteen years. After she passed away, I knew that I wanted to eventually adopt another dog in need of a home because I believe that the love of a rescue dog is without equal. Additionally, during those fourteen years, I married a military service member who saw combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He told me stories of the dogs he would see on the streets and in the countryside of those two war-torn countries. He’d speak of their loyalty and bravery when protecting their families and of their struggle to survive in a country where dogs are not always treated as revered family members. Because of my love of rescue dogs and my husband’s military service experiences, we knew that adopting a dog from Afghanistan would be the perfect fit for us. However, we knew that is also wouldn’t be easy.
After doing quite of bit of research, I came across Nowzad’s website and learned about their work to ensure a safe haven for animals in Afghanistan. I immediately reached out to them about the possibility of adopting a dog. I saw Poppy among the pictures of animals looking for homes. She had been living at the shelter for nearly six years at that time. I knew it would be a more difficult adjustment process than just going to the local animal shelter, but I knew in my heart that she was meant to be with us.
Thanks to the generosity of others, Poppy was able to make the journey to the United States. When I first met her at the airport, I was so excited and quite nervous. I looked into her beautiful golden eyes; I could see that she was tired after her long flight, however, she was calm, and she allowed me to gently pet her. She was nervous and reserved for the first few days in her new home. She was not sure about the dog food I gave her, nor did she understand the concept of using the restroom outside. However, she became more and more comfortable as each day passed. I found a food combination that she liked (dry and wet food mixed with a little bit of egg), and she improved in the house breaking department. She also began to get more and more playful. Now she loves to cuddle and go for long walks. Also, she is not shy about wanting to get on the sofa or in bed!
Adopting a Nowzad dog is not right for everyone because dogs are not one-size-fits-all. For example, Poppy is stubborn and willful, but she has been receptive to training. She is also quite fluffy, and she requires constant brushing (something I was already used to with my previous dog). She is patient and sweet to our nine-year-old daughter, and she lets her brush her and give her kisses, but she was weary of her at first. She never showed any signs of aggression, but I could tell she was not used to children. In addition, Poppy likes her personal space; she prefers to sleep on a dog bed in the kitchen at night instead of in our bedroom.
My family has learned a lot from her in the last several months. She is not like a “regular” dog. She requires patience, effort, and a lot of love. However, she gives us so much in return. Just like people who have been through tough times, many of these animals at Nowzad have had a difficult start to life. They require time to heal and space to do so, but, most importantly, they need love. I am so happy that I found her, and I cannot imagine my life without her.