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Dog abused in Baghdad seeks home on Whidbey

Eric Anderson with Oak Harbor’s Best Friend’s Veterinary Center plays with a dog from Iraq. The pooch needs a good home. - Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times
Eric Anderson with Oak Harbor’s Best Friend’s Veterinary Center plays with a dog from Iraq. The pooch needs a good home.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor veterinarian Eric Anderson has a three-legged, Iraqi dog that needs a home.

The medium-sized mutt survived a horrendous ordeal on the streets of Baghdad before being rescued by an American contractor. But through it all, the dog dubbed “Iraqi Freedom” remained a wiggly, affection-loving pooch yearning to be someone’s lap dog.

Anderson, owner of Best Friend’s Veterinary Center, brought something unusual home from the airport last February. Flying home from a vet convention, Anderson noticed a woman with a dog at the baggage claim area of Sea-Tac Airport. He went over to pet the dog and found him friendly despite a terrible leg injury.

“I fell in love with the little guy,” Anderson said. “I thought he was such a great dog.”

The woman, Cynthia Bowes of Juneau, Ala., told Anderson a remarkable tale about the animal. She had been working as a civilian in Baghdad and had noticed a lot of dogs living on the streets. One day, she asked one of the Iraqis that she worked with to bring her some puppies from the market.

Bowes raised the litter of puppies for months, but one day they disappeared. She pestered the Iraqis until they admitted that they had thrown the dogs into the Tigris River to get rid of them.

Bowes spent days looking for the young dogs and finally found a couple of them near the American Embassy. She had to convince guards to let her have them. The military and a large contractor have orders to shoot stray dogs because of the proliferation of rabies, she told Anderson.

Bowes was flying the two dogs home to Alaska, where she hoped to find good homes for them, when she met Anderson at Sea-Tac. He offered to take the injured dog and find him a home, and Bowes readily agreed. The News-Times attempted to reach Bowes, but she has returned to Iraq and was unavailable for comment.

Anderson said Bowes wasn’t sure how the dog got injured, possibly from being thrown into the river.

“His elbow was fractured very, very severely,” he said.

Nonetheless, the veterinarian brought the dog to his clinic and performed orthopedic surgery to try to save the leg. But after months of recovery, the leg still caused the dog a lot of pain. Anderson felt he had no choice but to amputate it.

“He’s no worse for the wear,” he said. “He’s up and running around like crazy.”

Anderson hypothesized that the sand-colored canine’s ancestry probably goes back thousands of years in Iraq; it’s the cradle of civilization, after all.

Freedom, as the dog is commonly called, went home with one family, but he didn’t get along with the other dogs. So now Anderson is appealing to the community for a good home for the brave dog. He said it’s probably best if the dog lives in a home without other pets. He’s not sure how the dog would do around small children.

Anyone interested in adopting the dog from Iraq should call Best Friend’s Veterinary Center at 679-6796.

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