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San Diego Marine welcomes home puppy rescued from small Pacific island

After a lot of red tape, quarantine, thousands of miles, and five separate flights, Romeo is finally home in Oceanside.

SAN DIEGO — daring and costly mission to rescue a dog overseas for a Camp Pendleton Marine is complete. 

After a lot of red tape, quarantine, thousands of miles, and five separate flights, Romeo is spending his first night in his new home with Staff Sgt. Philip Bailey in Oceanside. 

As soon as the door to the Alaska Airlines cargo hold area opened and Romeo heard Bailey, he knew. 

His squeaking and tail hitting his crate says it all. Bailey and his battalion left the small island of Tinian near Guam where they were deployed two months ago. But their connection is as strong as ever. 

“It’s been a couple of months, but he remembers. It’s pretty surreal. It’s kind of funny to see him here,” Bailey said. 

Romeo was like the battalion mascot after the troops found him and started feeding him and making sure he was safe. Having him there gave our troops overseas a sense of normalcy. 

“They'd come up and pet the dog and be like, this reminds me of my dog that's back home. So it's like a little piece of home for all the guys out there,” Bailey said.

When the 7th Engineers Support Battalion from Camp Pendleton got their orders to come home and realized Romeo couldn’t come with them, Bailey reached out to Paws of War. Since 2014 Paws of War has helped hundreds of troops bring rescued animals from overseas to safety in the U.S. 

Starting a week ago, Paws of War flew Romeo from the small island where Bailey was deployed to Saipan, then to Guam where he was quarantined. Then on to Hawaii, to Seattle, and today, Romeo landed in San Diego. 

A $15,000 rescue mission that donations to Paws of War paid for. But for a marine to know he left no one behind and to forever rescue an animal that gave so much to he and his battalion, that is priceless. 

If you’d like to make a donation to Paws of War to make missions like these possible, click here.

WATCH RELATED: Operation bring 'Romeo' home | San Diego Marines work to rescue puppy



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