This is a classic example of how dogs are man’s best friend, through thick and thin. This wasn’t simply a story of a dog being rescued, but of a dog rescuing his owner as well.
In 2010, Sgt. Craig Grossi of the US Marine Corps was deployed to a remote part of Afghanistan. During a week-long series of attacks by the Taliban, Grossi noticed a “goofy-looking” stray dog poking around his team a few times.
When things finally settled back down, Grossi got a chance to introduce himself to the dog, which he had named “Fred.”
“As I got closer to him, I could see he was covered in bugs,” Grossi said. “He was uncomfortable, and his fur was matted. And as I got a little bit closer he started to wag his tail, and that really just froze me, because that is the last thing I thought he would do.”
Grossi thought that he had won the dog over with his pieces of beef jerky, but it was actually Grossi who grew attached to the dog. He knew he had to get this dog home. He couldn’t let the dog continue to live its harsh and hungry life.
That’s when he hatched a “shady” plan to find a way to sneak this dog back home to the United States. He knew it was risky, but he just had to give it a try.
“I had a little conversation with Fred. I said ‘Look, this is risky man. If you really want this, I just need you to follow me to the helicopter,’” he said. Once the both got in the helicopter, Grossi hid him in a duffel bag. “I like to say he had a helicopter ride before a car ride.”
Grossi somehow had to hide the dog back at the base until he was able to smuggle him out. Grossi got a veterinarian from the British Army to take a look at Fred to make sure he was ok and good to go. Once he got the all clear, he fudged the documents necessary to ship him home.
hat was all I wanted,” said Grossi. “I wasn’t sure if I would make it back or not.”
But thankfully, he did. Like many returning veterans, his struggles didn’t disappear once he returned stateside. “When I would come home from a job I wasn’t crazy about, and I had just spent eight hours behind a desk where it felt like it didn’t matter if I was there or not, Fred was a reminder that I could do something great and worthwhile.”
Grossi’s unique relationship with Fred was so special that he had to share their story with the world. With a newfound passion for writing, Grossi wrote a book about Fred’s story.
The book, Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other is on shelves today and inspiring people across the nation.
Fred enjoys his new home, especially the comfy beds and squirrel chasing. “It could’ve gone wrong 100 different ways at any moment, but that just makes our story more special.”
Here is happy Fred in his new country!