Local Soldier Reunited With Dog He Saved In Afghanistan

03.16.12 | Jeremy Miller

Rio the Dog

A local soldier wrapped up his tour of duty in Afghanistan and is now reunited with a family member whom he saved while he was deployed. The last time Staff Sergeant Bob Cook saw Rio, she was just a scared little puppy barely surviving. "She wasn't able to move, she was definitely shaking a little bit, and was definitely very hungry," said Cook. He found her in some old equipment at the base in Afghanistan last fall. "The wild dog population comes in and gets pretty overpowering in between the bases, and they just come in and collect them all up and they euthanize them," said Cook. The Staff Sergeant wasn't willing the let that happen to Rio. He hatched a plan to save her, but took an enormous hit to the wallet to make it happen. It would cost $4,000 to send Rio to his home in Cheektowaga. Cook's wife, Kristin, says she was a little hesitant. "I was very mad at him because he wanted to bring another dog home, and I told him he was crazy," Kristin said, smiling. Eventually, Kristin gave in and started collecting donations to bring Rio to the U.S. She said, "The money came in so fast, and I just couldn't even believe it." By the time Rio was arriving at her new home, the soldier who saved her life was still on the other side of the world, with half of his tour still in front of him. Now that they're back together, Staff Sergeant Cook says his little girl has grown up quite a bit. "She's definitely a lot bigger and she can move and walk, and she's very beautiful, a lot different than she would actually look like, because I knew her parents, and she's a very nice dog," Cook said. Bob and Kristin used a British charity called, NOWZAD, to collect money to bring Rio home. The program is set up to help save stray animals from Iraq and Afghanistan. You can read more about Rio's story by clicking here.