Dogs reunited with Marines who saved them overseas

Dogs reunited with Marines who saved them overseas
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 4:58 PM EDT
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SURF CITY, N.C. (WECT) - Our military members are known to be heroes but three Marines from Surf City share a heroic tale of a different kind after saving a dog and her three puppies.

“Seeing them for the first time again is definitely a heartwarming thing,” said Sgt. Joshua Echevarria. “I don’t know if he fully recognizes me or remembers me but I definitely remember him. It’s just a lot of emotions, but excited.”

Wednesday’s reunion was nearly a year in the making after U.S. Marines Sgt. Colin Bettner, Cpt. Britta Vivaldi and Sgt. Echevarria found a pregnant, malnourished dog while deployed in southeast Asia.

“She was pretty much being starved and on death row,” said Cpt. Vivaldi. “One of the Marines broke her out of the box in which she was being starved in and brought her over to our camp.”

There nursed her back to health and helped her give birth to three puppies. They named the mother Cardi and the puppies Cindy, Hector, and Ivar. Quickly, the pups became part of the Marines’ pack.

When it was time to come home, the three marines couldn’t bear to leave the pups behind. That’s when Paws of War stepped in.

“They were very serious about helping us out,” said Sgt. Echevarria. “I’m very thankful for them because, without them, these dogs would still be suffering over there.”

It was a lengthy process but on Wednesday, the dogs were finally reunited with the Marines in Pender County.

“It feels incredible,” said Cpt. Vivaldi. “Definitely a little bit of anxiety here and there, to be honest, but it’s one of those things that almost a year ago, we all said we’re going to make this work and we’re going to continue to make that work today and we’re going to continue to make it work for the rest of their life.”