It’s a dog’s life in Afghanistan patrol base
First published on Sky News on 31st May 2010.
By Lorna Ward, Sky News Producer
His large red and white blanket has pride of place under the main operations-cum-dining table in the Patrol Base. He’s had his jabs, and he dines on leftover rations.
Frankie may not be a pedigree, but he’s won the hearts of the soldiers on a small and dusty Patrol Base in Sangin.
The scruffy white and brown dog is only about nine months old but has already been through the mill.
As a puppy, he was destined to be trained up as a fighting dog.
This meant grooming him according to Afghan rules, including cutting off his ears and tail.
As it turned out, he just wasn’t aggressive enough, so his career ended and he was left homeless.
Cue the arrival of the boys from 1 Scots.
Sgt Jamie Campbell arrived ahead of the rest of the soldiers who would call this small patch of land on the edge of the Green Zone home for the next six months.
He found cockroaches and rats, and one mangy, lonely dog with no ears and no tail.
Ridding the place of pests and turning it into a liveable hygienic base was a priority. Along with the rats and the cockroaches, the mangy dog had to go.
But the disfigured, mournful looking mutt won his first battle – the animal was spared and Christened Frankie.
Just under three months later, Frankie is part of the furniture.
So much so, that he insists on following the soldiers on patrol into the Green Zone.
Despite being firmly instructed to stay on the Patrol Base and left with his water bowl and snacks, he occasionally manages to escape.
Blissfully unaware of the improvised explosive device threat and the serious job the men are here to do, he bounds towards the gate of the Patrol Base, before being shooed back to safety.
Sgt Campbell has taken a particular shine to the camp mascot and plans to take him home as a family pet.
It’ll mean jumping through a number of administrative hoops and raising money – but with the process already under way, this is one ‘rescue’ dog that looks set for a loving home in Scotland in a few months’ time.