Animal Planet’s “Dodo Heroes” highlights those who go to great lengths to save, protect, and rehabilitate animals — and this Saturday’s subject Pen Farthing takes that “heroes” part of the show title to a whole new level.
The man, who as a Royal Marine used to spend his days saving humans in war-torn Afghanistan, now spends them saving dogs (and cats, and donkeys, and now a horse) there. But Farthing is still saving soldiers in a way, as his mission through his charity Nowzad — named after his own pooch from the war zone — is to reunite American military personnel with their unofficially adopted local four (and sometimes three)-legged friends.
The lengths that Farthing and his organization go through to export these forgotten street dogs from Afghanistan to their specific soldier in the United States is remarkable — as is the cost. TheWrap spoke with Farthing about his very worthy, dangerous, and inspirational mission, which readers can catch a glimpse of above via our exclusive sneak peek. They can watch much more this Saturday night at 9/8c on Animal Planet.
TheWrap: How did you smuggle Nowzad out of Afghanistan?
Pen Farthing: As the military have a clear “no feral animals” policy, I was left with no choice but to seek local Afghan assistance in transporting Nowzad across extremely dangerous terrain — almost certainly controlled by the Taliban — a journey of over 300 miles from our forward operating base in the town of Nowzad to the capital Kabul.
I had no idea whether the journey would be a success. I had to completely put my trust in an Afghan taxi driver I had only just met. For all I knew he could have driven down the road; kicked the dogs out and kept my money. But he was a true man of his word and delivered Nowzad to Kabul.
I could not bear to leave Nowzad behind when I returned to the U.K. but the success of it all was out of my hands. For whatever reason, everything came together — against the odds. Nowzad arrived in England on June 24, 2007.