CNN 2014 Hero of the year, Nowzad founder, and former British Army Royal Marine Commando Pen Farthing spoke in Binghamton, New York Wednesday at the Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross’s 6th annual Real Heroes Breakfast.
Nowzad helps transport dogs and cats that servicemen and women have adopted while deployed in Afghanistan to rejoin the soldiers when they return home. The organization houses animals, cares for them during their mandatory quarantine period, arranges transport and raises funds to pay for the entire process that reunites pets with the soldiers they befriended and comforted in faraway lands.
“It’s kind of a recognized way of these guys dealing with basically post-traumatic stress by looking after these animals and the animals looking after them. So, we’re really proud to be able to do that and continue doing what we do now in Afghanistan,” said Farthing.
“We get so many of them who will come in to us and say they are looking after this cat or this dog and they don’t want to form a bond with it to bring it home at the start,” said Farthing. “They think ‘Oh I will just do my bit for it and I’ll feed it’ and then as that bound grows they realize there is just no way I can abandon it.”
Nowzad has reunited more than 700 soldiers with the dogs or cats they adopted on the front lines of Afghanistan.