"He was so excited to see me that he started wiggling all over, hopping up and down. He even pooped on the carpet!" says Cameron Marin

By Jen Juneau
December 21, 2020 01:49 PM
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Cameron Marin and Sunny
| Credit: SPCA International

"Man's best friend" just took on an even more heartwarming meaning.

A U.S. service member named Cameron Marin has brought home a very special pal he met in March while stationed in Erbil, Iraq: a dog named Sunny.

Of their initial meeting, Marin said in a release that he and his fellow service members had "seen a few dogs" close to an active runway while stationed in Iraq, "but I noticed quickly that Sunny was pretty crafty."

"Every morning, when I'd go up the ramp to prep the aircraft, I'd see Sunny near the runway. It was so hot outside that he would lay in the mud to stay cool," he added. "I started calling him and moving towards him. Sunny eventually came to me with his goofy run and let me pet him right away."

"After that, he kept coming around, and I fed him each day," Marin recalled.

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Cameron Marin's dog Sunny
| Credit: SPCA International

And although Sunny "disappeared for about a month," Marin said he "showed up again one day" and became part of the soldier's "regular routine" during his deployment days.

When it came time for Marin to return to his New Hampshire home, he couldn't bear the thought of leaving his canine companion behind. That's when SPCA International stepped in to save the day.

"I became attached to him and began to search for ways to take him home with me," the soldier said. "That's when I found SPCA International and applied to the Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide program."

As a result, "I was connected with the local animal shelter in Erbil and they helped to make it happen," Marin explained. "I'll never forget the day that I had to scoop him up and get him to the shelter. I found Sunny laying in the mud, as usual, and my friend drove the truck up next to him. I pulled him out of the mud and into the truck. He buried his head in my lap, covered in mud, smelling terrible, and I held him closely because I knew he was afraid."

Cameron Marin and Sunny
| Credit: SPCA International

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Marin was still deployed when Sunny was flown into John F. Kennedy International Airport, where his wife picked up the dog. The two were reunited when Marin returned home to New Hampshire in October.

"He was so excited to see me that he started wiggling all over, hopping up and down. He even pooped on the carpet!" Marin said in the release.

Sunny also has a new playmate in the couple's 6-year-old Australian cattle dog, Cowboy Joe, and has taken on some new hobbies. But his personality hasn't changed a bit.

"He loves to chew antlers and bones and is just as goofy as ever," Marin shared.