ST. PETERSBURG, FL 10/25/2011 --
It was an extremely-long journey for one dog who made his way from Kuwait to the United States, and he couldn't have done it without the help of one very-grateful National Guardsman from Florida.
Thousands of miles away from home serving in Kuwait Sergeant Mark Stanhope met Steve, a dog that made a war zone seem a little bit like home.
"It was just something to distract you from you mission and stuff like that to where you could just forget about your troubles and just like do what you do back in America," said Stanhope.
One night Steve got attacked by another animal; some said he would have to be put down but Stanhope knew there was another option.
"A lot of people said we should try to adopt him, but there were so many hoops to jump through."
Sergeant Stanhope decided he would jump through those hoops; he formed the group friends of Steve and with the help of fundraisers raised 18 hundred dollars to bring Steve to America.
"We just think Steve is like our refugee that we liberated and brought back to America. He served plenty of duty over there helping out all the soldiers for 2, 3 years," said Stanhope.
Steve arrived in the U.S. first; the Sergeant came months later, and now the two are reunited.
"It's something that lives on, it's not just a souvenir that you put in a photo album, it's a living sample of what we do for other people and other animals. It's showing we care. It just made them more human as opposed to worrying about the war effort."
And looking at Steve will always be a reminder of why the Sergeant Stanhope chose to serve his country.