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Iraqi dog's journey to America hits another snag

  • Story Highlights
  • The military's flight clearance for Ratchet the dog came through too late
  • Animal rights advocates are trying to find a way to get Ratchet on another flight
  • Pets have helped soldiers in Iraq cope with the stresses of deployment
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier's adopted puppy missed his flight out of Baghdad Wednesday, in what has become the latest drama in the effort to save Ratchet the Iraqi dog.

Sgt. Gwen Beberg has fought to get the dog who she rescued from the streets of Iraq to her home in Minnesota. But the military refused, saying it prohibits soldiers from adopting pets abroad and bringing them to the U.S.

On October 1, the military confiscated the dog.

Ratchet and his owner's story drew the attention of thousands of people who signed an online petition, linked on SPCA International's Web site, urging the military to let Ratchet eventually reunite with Beberg in the States. Beberg will be serving in Iraq until November.

"(This) has grabbed the attention of a lot of Iraqis and a lot of Americans," said Multi-National Force spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International said it would make another attempt to bring him to the United States as early as Sunday.

SPCA International's Operation Baghdad Pups has been working with soldiers to help them bring adopted animals home when their deployment is over. The program's manager, Terri Crisp, was prepared to take Ratchet and six other U.S. soldiers' dogs from Baghdad to the United States on Wednesday, the group said.

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Though Crisp did obtain the six other dogs, the military didn't clear Ratchet's release from Combat Outpost Meade in northern Baghdad in time for Crisp's departure, SPCA International said.

Beberg's mother, in a statement released by SPCA International, said Ratchet "was the savior of her [daughter's] sanity" in Iraq.

"I don't know how my daughter will cope" without the dog, Patricia Beberg said.

SPCA International says that although active-duty soldiers aren't allowed to adopt animals in the Middle East, hundreds of soldiers there befriend animals to help themselves cope with deployment.

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