happyworld - Marine And Stray Dog From Afghanistan Change Each Other’s Lives

Battlefields are known for a few things, and most of them don’t exactly scream fun. Between the pops and bangs of heavy artillery and adrenaline-fueled chaos soldiers might enter into, it’s hard to find beauty or peace in places afflicted by war.
When a Virginia-born marine came face to face with a strange dog in a strange land, he didn’t know if the feral pooch would lash out or wag its tail. What happened next, however, would change both their lives in the most beautiful of ways…
Craig Grossi always felt like he was born to serve his country as a U.S. Marine. It was a path he pursued seriously and, eventually, an honor he earned. In the summer of 2010, he was deployed to Afghanistan.
There, Craig’s task was to collect intelligence while protecting his position, a complicated task because as soon as he and his regiment arrived, they were confronted with all the dangers of war.
The U.S. Marine base in Sangin was a death zone. There were bullets flying and RPGs exploding all around. This wasn’t the only thing making life in this foreign country so dangerous, either.
To make matters worse, the temperature in the Registan Desert could reach up to 115 degrees. Craig was strong and brave, but his nerves were demolished by the assault against his senses and his constantly pumping adrenaline. 
In a quiet lull between the volleys of bombardment, Craig took the time to clean and check his rifle, and to prepare himself something to eat. That’s when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a stray dog loitering around the edge of the base.
Honest To Paws
Many of the feral dogs prowling the villages of the Afghan desert were vicious or rabid, but this dog demonstrated something completely different: his friendly demeanor was a stark contrast against the harshness of the base.
Fred The Afghan
Despite being previously instructed not to interact with any dogs in the area, Craig felt a pull on his heartstrings that he couldn’t ignore. He took a chance and offered the pooch a piece of beef jerky, waiting nervously to see what would happen next.
When the two came a bit closer together, Craig noticed the dog was absolutely filthy and covered in gigantic black bugs. Craig was about to back up when he was taken completely by surprise — the dog began frantically wagging its tail!
As much as Craig loved to see the dog happily noshing away, he knew he had to get back to work. He walked away to return to his gear and position when he felt a little poke to his leg. 
Fred The Afghan
The dog was looking up at him with deep, imploring eyes. This dog wanted to be loved. “Looks like you made a friend!” a fellow marine called out. However, Craig heard “looks like a Fred!”
 The newly-named Fred and his human quickly became inseparable. Craig knew, of course, there was a chance he and his pooch would have to separate at some point, but that didn’t stop him from giving Fred love.
Huffington post After removing all the bugs with the help from a fellow marine, there was nothing stopping Craig and Fred from becoming closer and closer. They slept together, patrolled together, and played together.
Fred The AfghanThe sweet-natured Fred came to represent a beacon of light in that dark place. For the Marines on Craig’s base, Fred came to be the embodiment of all they sought to protect.
Honest To Paws
However, Craig’s tour of duty was coming to a close, and he was in no way ready to say goodbye to his new dog — their bond was too important to him. That’s when he began to hatch a plan.
Fred The Afghan/Instagram
Soon, Craig and his comrades were to be flown in helicopters to Camp Leatherneck, a place for marines to rest; if he could smuggle Fred on board, he knew he might be able to stay with the dog longer.

A few days later, the choppers arrived. Even Craig’s sergeant was willing to help transport the dog, so the plan was set into motion. However, as the helicopters landed, Fred was nowhere to be seen — and it was time to go.

Suddenly, Craig felt something at his heel. It was Fred! The dog seemed nervous and skittish but determined to follow his pal. And even though Fred was frightened, Craig took it as a sign…

Fred was ready to accompany him anywhere, and the marines and the pooch took off together. However, even when the regiment arrived at Camp Leatherneck, their problems were far from over.

Honest To Paws
Fred needed to be hidden, and Craig needed to get him the paperwork so the dog could fly to the U.S. There, he could stay with Craig’s loved ones until his return.
In the following weeks, Fred made frequent visits to the vet to get authorization. Before he could get the a-okay, however, the time came for Craig to return to the field of battle in Sangin.
But then, at long last, Fred received clearance and flew to New York’s JFK to meet Craig’s family, who were unaware of what was happening overseas. Now all Fred had to do was wait for Craig’s time in Afghanistan to come to an end…
Huffington Post
Months after Fred had acclimated to life in the States, his best friend did come home to him. But Craig was almost unrecognizable — he had been through hell and back, and it showed.
He was traumatized. He’d heard daily gunfire. Two people from his unit had died in action. The brutalities of war struck him deeply, and he seemed like a whole other person now.
Craig Grossi/FacebookAs he tried to adjust to civilian life, Craig was plagued by nightmares; being in large crowds frightened him, and he wouldn’t talk to anybody. His only relief was the time he spent with Fred.
Craig Grossi/Instagram
The charming dog helped Craig start conversations with new people, gently bringing him back into the world. This led him to not only open up about the war, but it even got him talking to a very special woman named Nora.
Nora Parkington/FacebookFred’s joy touched everyone who met him. Suddenly, Craig had an epiphany: other people needed to hear not only his stories but Fred’s as well. Fred’s “stubborn positivity” saved both of their lives, and perhaps that mindset could save others, too.
Fred The Afghan/InstagramIn those difficult moments in which everything seemed to be falling apart, Fred’s example became a way for Craig to remember that there was good in the world. That was a message he wanted others to know.
With Fred in his mind and at his side Craig was ready to keep moving forward. He enrolled in Georgetown University and began to heal from his PTSD.
Craig Grossi/FacebookAfter graduation, Craig wrote his own memoirs, entitled: Craig and Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, And How They Rescued Each Other. As of 2019, he was traveling across the country as a speaker, accompanied by his girlfriend Nora, their other dog Ruby, and of course, the star of the show, Fred himself.
Fred The Afghan/Instagram
Craig’s mission was to help others see how stubborn positivity can affect their life choices. He wanted people to remember that when things seem most dark, there will always be a reason to find joy and continue onward.
For this veteran and PTSD survivor, that reason happened to be irresistibly fluffy with a persistently-wagging tail — and that’s a bond that will last a lifetime.
Craig Grossi/Instagram

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