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Afghanistan military dog ​​is about to be reunited with its owner in the US

time a Touring Afghanistan in 2019, Kristen St. Pierre, a female platoon commander in the Georgia Army National Guard, became really close to a colleague she thought she’d never see again: her bomb-sniffing dog Chase.

St. Pierre, 30, was Chase’s handler as he led his 38-soldier platoon on “guardian angel” missions in and around Kabul. Chase, whose skill set was explosives and narcotics, would lead the way and conduct security sweeps of the perimeter before the meeting. She spent almost every day with Chase: he slept in her room while she fed him and took him for walks.

“It brings a lot of relief and a piece of humanity to have a dog at the base,” St. Pierre said.

Chase and his handler Kristen St. Pierre pose with some local women in Afghanistan during one of his rounds.

Photo courtesy of Kristen St. Pierre

When St. Pierre’s tour ended, Chase stayed behind to work. She missed him terribly but received daily updates via text and photos about the pup’s adventures with this new handler.

Then Kabul fell.

On August 15, 2021, Taliban took control of Afghanistan and its capital, capping a 20-year struggle after they were ousted by a US military coalition. After chaotic weeks and months, US troops withdrew and Afghans fled in droves.

St. Pierre reached out to Chase’s handler hoping he could get out.

“I hear Chase and other dogs will be on flights to the US and Europe,” she says “Later I heard the dogs were not allowed on the plane and were released from the airport with little chance of survival.”


St. Pierre pets Chase, a military bomb-sniffing dog, while taking a break in Afghanistan.

Photo courtesy of Kristen St. Pierre

For months St. Pierre was in the dark about Chase, fearing the worst. The winter after the US withdrawal was harsh; The country’s security situation rapidly deteriorated as food and fuel shortages increased. As families struggled to survive in a rapidly changing landscape, the Taliban rolled back media freedom and the rights of women and girls.

A sudden surge of desperate refugees and economic collapse have made headlines around the world, as a country of 40 million people plunges into deep crisis.

But for Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, the American founder of Kabul Small Animal Rescue, the work continued.

It was her determination and a twist of fate that brought news of Chase to St. Pierre – and now they are about to reunite after a two-year wait.

Maxwell-Jones has lived in Kabul since 2015. He first came from the University of Michigan in 2010 to conduct fieldwork for his PhD in Classical Art and Archaeology. He fell in love with the country and its people, lived there part-time while he earned his doctorate, and returned for good in 2015.


In Kabul, children play with animals outside a small animal rescue clinic in Kabul. Rescue operates 15 clinics in Afghanistan.

CBS News

While working for various nonprofits and conducting independent research, Maxwell-Jones began rescuing stray dogs and cats. She founded Kabul Small Animal Rescue in 2018 and formalized the organization in 2019. Funded by individual donors, the organization has grown to 15 clinics and 85 employees.

But the challenges have increased dramatically since the Taliban came to power. Maxwell-Jones returned to Afghanistan before the fall so she could stay in the country and help the animals.


After the fall of Afghanistan, Chase and other US military working dogs were unable to leave the country. They were sent to kennels or left on the streets.

Photo courtesy of Kabul Small Animal Rescue

Maxwell-Jones had to switch to an all-male staff and navigating the new laws that came out every day was challenging, she told CBS News. When the Taliban took over, Kabul Small Animal Rescue was told it could not have female staff, she says. The company continued to pay female workers until many of them left for Pakistan and two female vets left for the UK, he said.

“The co-ed environment is missed, but we are committed to helping animals and will do so under whatever laws are in place,” Maxwell-Jones said.

Despite the hardships, Maxwell-Jones, 40, tries to focus on her core mission of rescuing small animals in Kabul. He is repatriating dogs and cats to the United States with the help of Pawsome Pets, a Dubai-based organization that helps rescue groups relocate abandoned animals to facilitate animal exports. In January, KSAR sent 11 dogs. The plan is to send Chase home with four other dogs. “Ideally we’d like to do at least 10-12 a month, but it’s hard,” says Maxwell-Jones.

Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, founder of Kabul Small Animal Rescue, pictured with two dogs.

Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, founder of Kabul Small Animal Rescue, spends time with two rescues. He started the organization in 2018.

CBS News

Maxwell-Jones stays in part because she loves the country, but she also fears that there “won’t be enough glue and motivation to keep this place going.” If KSAR were to close, he said, there would be no other organization to care for animals, especially stray dogs and cats.

Susan Chadima, a Maine-based veterinarian, travels to Kabul every few months to provide medical training to KSAR’s team.

“KSAR has become the only organization that remains, providing care for both owned and street dogs and helping to facilitate the transport of beloved, owned pets to their owners in the West,” she says.

For almost a year, St. Pierre had no news about Chase until a mutual contact told him about KSAR. Unbeknownst to St. Pierre, Maxwell-Jones found the chase in late November 2022 in a canal north of Kabul owned by a local mine detection company.


Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, founder of Kabul Small Animal Rescue, found Chase in late November 2022 in a kennel owned by a local mine detection company north of Kabul.

Photo courtesy of Kabul Small Animal Rescue

“It was pretty sad, he was in sorry shape,” Maxwell-Jones said. The white spaniel with furry brown spots was nervous but affectionate when he was found, she said.

Back in the U.S., St. Pierre searched KSAR’s social media accounts daily in hopes of seeing a picture of Chase. One day he did.

“I gasped,” said St. Pierre, who said his mother-in-law ran into the kitchen to make sure everything was okay. “I screamed ‘Run! Run! Run!’ I couldn’t believe he was alive.”

He contacted KSAR and told them about their time in Afghanistan and the work Chase had done. He asked about the process of taking her to the US and whether it was possible to adopt her.

Together they were able to piece together Chase’s history and raise a fund for $3,500 to bring him home. The first day they raised $4,405 in six hours, St. Pierre said.

Meanwhile, St. Pierre began a new chapter in his life; She retired from the military and now works as an operating room nurse. She is also pregnant with her first child.

“Chase is very beloved and many people are ready to go to his home,” she says

Maxwell-Jones is working to allow Chase to leave Afghanistan, but paperwork and bureaucracy are holding up his departure. It is still unknown when Chase might leave the country and reunite with St. Pierre.

Reporting contributed by Ahmad Mukhtar

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