Their son never came back from Iraq, but the puppy he saved did. Justin Rollins, of 82nd Airborne Division, had found the tiny puppy, one of a litter of eight, living underneath an abandoned portable toilet near his base. Justin befriended the puppy on the night he was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Smiling and enjoying the company of the young litter, he and his team-mates took some photos to send home. Just hours later, Justin was killed. Just two weeks later, Justin was given a military funeral in the U.S. His grieving mother, Rhonda Rollins, was asked if there was anything the U.S. military could do to help. Well, yes, she answered. She wanted to bring the brown and white spotted dog that Justin had befriended on the night of his death back to America.
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Her request was certainly an unusual one, but, with the help of Brittney Murray, Justin’s girlfriend, the ball started to roll. Six phone calls later, she got the attention of former New Hampshire Congressman Paul Hodes, who took up the challenge. Rhonda told ABC News’ 20/20 show: ‘They said one in a million chance of pulling this off. And I had already said, because Justin was a hero, the dog, whether it was male or female, it going to be named Hero.’ Justin’s friend Jason, who was with him when he found the puppy, located the pup again months after that fateful night, the puppy was whimpering and crying after they found him. They gave him a bath in a washing machine and prepared him for the long journey to his new home. After three long months of battling red tape, Hero was delivered to Congressman Hodes’ office, Cramped into the small room, the Rollins family, Brittney and military representatives all greeted the animal to its new home town, and check out the beam of sunlight from above on the dog, the family believes it was Justin’s shining approval of Hero’s new home!
| Nov. 29, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.