We tell ourselves that we would do anything for our pets, but Marine Sergeant Craig Grossi actually put his career and life on the line for his dog.
Grossi met Fred, a "goofy-looking" Afghan hound, when he was serving in a remote part of Afghanistan in 2010. For more than a week, Grossi and his team were fiercely attacked by the Taliban, but the Marine kept his eye on the stray dog until it was safe to approach him. When he did, he felt an intense connection.
“As I got closer to him, I could see he was covered in bugs, he was uncomfortable and his fur was matted,” Grossi said. “And as I got a little bit closer he started to wag his tail, and that really just froze me, because that is the last thing I thought he would do.”
Grossi tempted the pooch out of his hiding spot with pieces of jerky, and quickly became determined to rescue him. But it wouldn't be easy. Grossi needed to sneak Fred onto his base (where he wasn't allowed in the first place), then find a way to send him home.
The first step in Grossi's "shady" plan to bring Fred home involved a leap of faith. The dog had to hide in a duffel bag during a helicopter ride back to the base. “I had a little conversation with Fred. I said ‘Look this is risky man, if you really want this, I just need you to follow me to the helicopter.’”
Fred got in the bag, but that was just the start of his journey back home.
Grossi managed to hide Fred on the helicopter trip back to base, but had to keep the dog out of sight while he arranged to get him to America.
At one point, Grossi was forced to sneak out of his barracks in the middle of the night for a clandestine meeting with a British Army veterinarian. The dog was given the all-clear, and after a little creative form-filling, Grossi shipped Fred to his family in America.
“That was all I wanted," the Marine tells People, "because I wasn’t sure if I would make it back or not.” Now that Grossi is back home too, he draws on Fred's "stubborn positivity" to keep him grounded as he begins his life outside the military.
“When I would come home from a job I wasn’t crazy about, and I had just spent eight hours behind a desk where it felt like it didn’t matter if I was there or not, Fred was a reminder that I could do something great and worthwhile,”Grossi says.
“It could’ve gone wrong 100 different ways at any moment, but that just makes our story more special.”
Now, the Marine is sharing Fred's incredible life story in a new book called Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other. You can also follow the pair as they tour the country on Fred's Instagram page.
Share this inspiring true story with someone you know!