The downfall of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been largely credited to one Conan, the Belgian Malinois who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the military operation in Syria. But Conan wasn’t the only dog who emerged from the tunnel after the mission.
While documenting Baghdadi’s compound following the raid, Syrian photojournalist Fared Alhor found a puppy named “Bobe” who was orphaned in the battle, CNN reports.
“I turned around and, accidentally, I saw a puppy standing next to his mom,” Alhor said. “He was howling and sounded sad.”
Bobe was hungry and suffering from neglect. Alhor played with him for a bit to cheer him up, but knew he needed more than that.
“I mean, after the bombing, he has no one left,” Alhor said. “I asked if there is anyone who can take care of him.” A man nearby asked if I wanted to take him. I told him, ‘OK, I am going to come back, God willing.'”
Alhor went home to find a carrier and some food for Bobe. He made the 40-mile round trip on his motorcycle, eventually returning to the dangerous territory to retrieve the dog. They both braved the cold rain on the last leg of the journey back to Alhpor’s home.
“Despite the danger and despite the cold and despite the rain and despite everything,” Alhor said.
The photojournalist tried homing Bobe with a friend whose dog had recently given birth to a litter of her own. It was not to be, however. Alhor couldn’t bear to leave the puppy behind.
He brought Bobe home once more, this time for good.
“I started to play with him and pamper him and feed him. I went to the market and bought food for him,” Alhor said.
Mohammad Alaa al-Jaleel, also known as the “Aleppo Cat Man” at Ernesto’s Sanctuary for Syrian Cats, gave Bobe a check up and vaccinations. Alhor is grateful for the support, as he wouldn’t otherwise have the money to cover the expenses related to caring for a pet.
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There’s no question shote Bobe is better off, however.
Next on Alhor’s agenda is finding more food and a new dog house for his furry friend.
“He will have a good life and we will settle down, me and him,” Alhor said.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.