Iraqi dog arrives in Minnesota

Oct. 23, 2008 at 3:52 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- A dog rescued by a U.S. soldier from a burning trash pile in Iraq has arrived tired but healthy at his new home in Minnesota.

Ratchet made news around the world when Spc. Gwen Beberg made it known she wanted to send the dog to her family in Minnesota before her return to the United States later this year, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Thursday.

The military at first rejected her request and then relented after receiving support for the dog from Beberg's relatives, Minnesota's congressional delegation and an estimated 65,000 online petition signers.

Operation Baghdad Pups, run by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, arranged for the $5,000 trip -- with most of the money going to private security to move the dog to the Baghdad airport.

Northwest Airlines paid for Ratchet and a handler from Baghdad Pups to fly from Kuwait to Minneapolis-St. Paul, where the 6-month-old dog arrived Wednesday and was greeted by supporters wearing T-shirts that said, "No buddy gets left behind."

Ratchet is to remain at the home of Bebergs' parents in Spring Lake Park until she arrives home from her tour of duty around New Year's Eve.

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