Theodore's World: Ratchet the Iraq Dog Welcome Soldier Home Who Rescued Him

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January 19, 2009

Ratchet the Iraq Dog Welcome Soldier Home Who Rescued Him

Army Spec. Gwen Beberg gets a kiss from her dog Ratchet after returning to the States from duty in Iraq and being reunited with her parents Pat and Ted Beberg and Ratchet. Beberg fought the military to get the dog out of Iraq and online petitions set up to encourage Ratchet's release garnered over 77,000 signitures.

Ratchet the Iraq dog on hand to welcome soldier who rescued him

Star Tribune Minn.

Ratchet's rescuer, Army Specialist Gwen Beberg, arrived home on Saturday, and their happy reunion made it clear that the bond that helped each survive Iraq was mutual. "I decided this was an animal I couldn't part from."

Let the record show that Pat Beberg got her daughter's first homecoming hug. But when Ratchet, the dog that Army Specialist Gwen Beberg rescued last fall in Iraq, moved in for a slurpy kiss, everyone in Fridley's VFW hall sighed with a collective, "Awwwwww."

"Hey, baby. Oh, you got so big -- Oh, you got so big," said the soldier to the pup. "Yeah, who's home? Who's home, huh?"

The two were reunited Saturday as Beberg returned to Spring Lake Park, completing a tour of duty that unexpectedly led to a cause célèbre. Rachet arrived in October, after Beberg's efforts, coupled with almost 70,000 people signing online petitions and a little congressional nudging, prompted military officials to loosen the prohibition on U.S. troops adopting pets in Iraq.

Friends, family and supporters gathered at VFW Post 363 to witness the reunion, as well as to pay tribute to Beberg for her service. "I wish every soldier in the world, past, present and future, came home to a welcome like this," she said to about 60 people.

Then she made a pitch for supporting Operation Baghdad Pups, a branch of SPCA International that rescues dogs and cats adopted by U.S. military personnel. More than 50 pets have been relocated to the United States.

Beberg adopted Ratchet as a month-old pup after fellow soldiers rescued him from a pile of burning trash. The pet's unconditional love proved a comfort to Beberg during a difficult stretch.

Her parents, Pat and Ted Beberg, have been caring for Rachet, a feisty substitute for the daughter they hadn't seen in person since September 2007. Beberg already is registered for fall classes at Northwestern Health Sciences University to study massage therapy. She also wants to train Ratchet to be a therapy dog.

So far, the transition from the scorching desert to subzero Minnesota has gone well.

Beberg bent low and nuzzled her dog, who acted as if he'd left her only that morning. "He loves Minnesota. He thinks it's one gigantic field of treats."

Wild Thing's comment......

Wonderful story and what this dog has meant to this soldier is a bond that is very special.

Posted by Wild Thing at January 19, 2009 04:45 AM


What a great name for a dog--Ratchet! She really loves that dog. I hope they have many, many great years together.

Posted by: Lynn at January 19, 2009 06:43 AM

Awwwww...I remember this stoy, I'm glad Ratchet finally got here!

Posted by: Eden at January 19, 2009 07:08 AM

I love these stories!! Alot of people work behind the scenes to make this kind of thing happen.

Posted by: yankeemom at January 19, 2009 10:00 AM

Thank you for such a wonderful story, WT! Sooo, sooo heart-warming.

Posted by: BT in SA at January 19, 2009 10:51 AM

Yeah, I'm a sucker for animal stories.

Posted by: TomR at January 19, 2009 11:18 AM

I saw the live broadcast on TV this morning. I got big tears over this. G_d Bless this woman. To tell the truth, there are MANY of our brother and sister warriors who are like her.

(side note: WT, if you are ever interested, I have some pics of some puppies my Buddy and I rescued back in '67 (RVN)]

Posted by: Steve Gaston at January 19, 2009 12:09 PM

Love the story, too many pets get left behind or put down because of ludicrous regulations. My platoon left pets behind that we'd raised.

Posted by: Jack at January 19, 2009 03:14 PM

U.S. soldiers care more about the dogs and other animals caught up in war than the enemy Islamofascist terrorists care about their own women, children, and elderly. Says a lot about American values compared to what is practiced in Muslim countries.

Posted by: Les at January 19, 2009 03:52 PM

That's us, Americans are always suckers for Animals and kids. Especially dogs and kids. Maybe because of the innocence involved amidst the carnage and mayhem, One good thing among a whole bunch of ugly things makes life tolerable.

Great Story.

Posted by: Mark at January 19, 2009 06:48 PM

BIG smile, I am so glad we have stories like this. Yes they make my day too.

Thank you everyone so much!!!

Yes Steve I would love that.

Les, I agree, it says a lot about the differences. Americans are the best.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 19, 2009 07:38 PM

Jack, I am so sorry, that is hard.

Posted by: Wild Thing at January 19, 2009 07:40 PM