Ken Wyrsch was stationed in an American military encampment in Iraq a few years ago. The soldier was there to assist a Kurdish military unit in its fight against ISIS. Wyrsch, a former Army Specialist, was there as a volunteer, offering whatever assistance he could to his fellow soldiers.
As anyone can imagine, this is a high-stakes job where pressure is constant and stress is at an all-time high. Fortunately for the men at the encampment, they weren’t on their own. Ollie, the soldier’s dog, stayed with him through thick and thin and was always there to help him de-stress.
Ollie, on the other hand, was not there by military order. He was there by chance because he was a soldier. When he first met Wyrsch, the dog was just a stray puppy. He had wandered onto the base, presumably in search of food. When the soldiers discovered him and realized he was homeless, they decided that the camp needed a mascot.
“He was like a morale booster for us.” “He was there when we left for our missions, and he was there when we returned,” Wyrsch says in an interview with CBS SF.
After about a month, the soldier received word that his unit was being disbanded.
While returning home would normally be welcome news to any soldier, Wyrsch couldn’t stop thinking about Ollie. Every single one of the men had grown to adore the dog, but Ollie and Wyrsch were practically inseparable.
Being disbanded meant returning home and leaving Ollie behind. Wyrsch was a soldier through and through, and he was determined not to leave any soldier behind. He was going to figure out a way to get the brave dog back home.
“You don’t abandon a friend.” “You’re not going to be able to do it,” Wyrsch exclaims.
Wyrsch boarded a plane and returned to his home in the California Bay area, but his heart was still in Iraq with his friend.