Veteran to Be Reunited with Dog He Rescued from Middle East

Air Force veteran AJ Kirrish and Harley
AJ Kirrish

A veteran will be reunited with the one-year-old dog he rescued during a deployment in the Middle East after a paperwork mixup nearly sent her back.

“U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. A.J. Kirrish feared for the dog’s life when the confusion could have sent her back to Jordan — where officials say she likely would have been euthanized,” according to ABC 7.

Harley flew into JFK Airport on August 24, and is considered a service dog that supports those dealing with the emotional effects of war.

At first, authorities denied the pup entry at the airport, citing invalid vaccination paperwork.

“It’s really difficult to understand but being in that environment, there’s a bond built. I just want her home safe. Please, please find some sort of mercy in allowing me to get my dog back home. She means the world to me,” Kirrish said when he heard the news.

However, the invalid paperwork was a result of a small mistake that was later corrected in an appeal from Paws of War, a Long Island-based organization that trains shelter dogs to serve military veterans, the ABC report stated.

In addition, several U.S. representatives sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asking for urgent intervention to save the dog.

Thankfullly, Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY-04) announced Thursday that Kirrish and Harley would be together again once she receives a rabies vaccination and spends 28 days in quarantine.

“Words cannot describe the appreciation that my wife and I have for all the hard work and support from every single person involved,” Kirrish told reporters.

“We are eternally humbled and grateful. We are counting down the days to be reunited with our little girl, Harley,” he continued.

Following the announcement, Paws of War also thanked those who advocated on the veteran’s behalf.

“Staff Sergeant Amjad Kirrish and his wife Scarlett have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support, are overjoyed and feel so blessed that they will be getting their baby Harley home soon,” the website read.


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