Staff Sgt. Kevin Brady was reunited with Bailey the dog on Independence Day. Below, Brady was all smiles when he saw the dog for the first time in two months. Photos by Elana Glowatz
July 05, 2013 | 10:47 AMBailey's journey isn't over yet, but she has found her home again after reuniting with Staff Sgt. Kevin Brady at the Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center in Port Jefferson Station on July 4.
Fireworks popped in the distance as the Anatolian shepherd mix whined, wagged her tail and moved frantically around Brady, whom she had not seen in a couple of months.
The National Guardsman and his unit took in Bailey in the fall, when she was about eight weeks old. The dog had previously been tagging along with the Afghan army and the American unit quickly became attached to her. Brady, who recently finished his second tour, said she provided comfort to soldiers who were away from their kids, families and pets.
When the unit went back stateside, "Just leaving her there just didn't seem right."
That's where the Guardians of Rescue came in. Dori Scofield, the group's vice president as well as Save-A-Pet's founder, said Brady contacted her three months ago about bringing Bailey to the United States. Guardians of Rescue, which rescues and finds homes for animals in need, raised $5,000 in nine days to help the soldier and "his battle buddy Bailey."
Guardians of Rescue president Robert Misseri said Afghanistan can be a hostile environment for a dog, and when some people find a dog U.S. soldiers have left behind, they will kill it.
For all military personnel do for their country, "the least we can do is help them get their war buddy home," Scofield said.
Nowzad, an organization that rescues dogs in Afghanistan, brought the dog to Kabul for her vaccinations and to get her spayed, she said. Bailey, who is now about 11 months old, made a stop at a kennel in Dubai before being shipped to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Scofield picked her up there on July 2.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Brady reunites with his dog Bailey on July 4. Video by Elana Glowatz
"I walked into the cargo area and heard 'Woof woof.'"
Scofield said Brady had been in constant contact with her and when she told him the dog was having a bath, he texted back, "She went from peasant to princess."
Bailey waited at Save-A-Pet for a couple of days for her soldier to pick her up and take her with him on a road trip back to his home in Sacramento, Calif., where Brady has two sons.
The staff sergeant is also a deputy sheriff in nearby Placer County.
Scofield said Bailey "loves everybody, but she's looking for him."
When Scofield brought Bailey outside to where Brady was waiting on the afternoon of July 4, she ran to her whistling friend and whined as he laughed and petted her.
"She got a lot bigger," Brady said.
Bailey may have been unsure when she first went outside to be reunited with her buddy, Scofield said, but when Brady whistled to her, "you saw the light bulb go off in her head."