We want to update a recent post on Ratchet and Gwen. Gwen is a US soldier who has been stationed in Iraq. A few months ago she helped rescue a puppy from a pile of burning trash. She named him Ratchet and made arrangements to ship him to her parents' home so he would be waiting for her when she is released from active duty. Everything was taken care of and on October 1 Ratchet was on his way to freedom, when he was seized by Gwen's commanding officer. The military refuses to release Ratchet for transport to the US.
Ratchet then disappeared from Gwen's barracks and she has not seen him since. At one time, he was supposedly locked in a freezer. Exactly where Rachet is being kept is unknown. The military claims he is still alive but will not be permitted to leave the country, despite 10,000 signatures (presently 46,337 signatures, as Ben pointed out in comments) on a petition and the intervention of Gwen's congressman and others.
There have been at least 36 other animals destroyed that service personnel tried to save. It is hard to imagine the trauma of being forced to watch an animal you are bonded with and trying to rescue be shot in the head by your commanding officer. Of course, not all COs act this way. Some high ranking officers have rescued animals themselves.
But Ratchet was the first animal seized by the military on its way to the Baghdad airport. We haven't found a reason for this, other than it is against regulations. Rules are important, but there are some that just beg - no, demand - to be broken. And having a cold, murdering heart toward animals is one of them!
Living in a war zone would be tough enough without having to check your heart at the border. If this is how COs teach those under their command to act, is it any wonder we have a number coming back who abuse and kill animals, commit suicide or kill others? Many military personnel return suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). There is very little in a war zone to help relieve that stress, but it is a well-documented fact that animals can help.
We have no idea what is going on but the way this situation is being been handled makes us wonder whether confiscating Ratchet is not part of a personal offensive against Gwen by her CO. Why else would Ratchet be confiscated when he was already in tranport? Ratchet was not a burden to the military. He was not an expense either. So why is this non-terroristic animal being held prisoner by the US military?
There is still a small window of opportunity for Ratchet to be rescued and transported to the US on this next animal rescue mission. If the military will not release him, another dog will take his place.
The military might look down on Ratchet as "just a dog," but Gwen is a human who has served her country for longer than the 3 years she aniticipated. All she is asking the military for is a dog, her dog Ratchet. And all the military has to do is to stop playing games (this is not funny!), release the dog to the rescue group when it arrives and end this farce.
Two recent articles:
Ratcheting Up Support to Bring "Ratchet" Home -by Rebekah Price of American Chronicle. Ratchet the pup is alive - but where? -- StarTribune.com