Wrigley heiress charters private jet to fly Marine’s dogs home

Andrew Morales with his dogs; the plane was chartered by Helen A. Rosburg, a descendant of the Wrigley family. (Photo: WWAY/ABC)

While Marine Staff Sergeant Andrew Morales served in Afghanistan nearly three years ago, he rescued two injured Anatolian Shepherd mixes, Dusty and Wyatt, from the battlefield.

“They’ve experienced some pretty bad things,” Morales tells 10News.com. “If you look at their ears, tails… from what I understand, Afghans cut them off for fighting.”

As the months passed by, Morales and his four-legged friends became constant companions.

“In Afghanistan, they are pretty much your best friend,” Staff Sgt. Morales explains, describing the bond he forged with Dusty and Wyatt.

When his tour of duty was coming to an end, Morales knew in his heart he couldn’t bear to leave his dogs behind in Afghanistan. He knew that when he returned home to his family in Camp Pendleton, Calif., he wanted Dusty and Wyatt to be right there next to him.

With some assistance from an animal rescue organization, Dusty and Wyatt were able to join Staff Sgt. Morales, and they have enjoyed their life in the U.S. ever since. Everything was perfect — until Morales learned he was being transferred across the country to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. All the arrangements were set for the human members of the Morales clan, but Morales hit a serious snag when he tried to make transportation reservations for Dusty and Wyatt.

“I called an airline and told them I would like to reserve a space for them. I paid for the tickets,” Morales explains. “Then they told me the dogs were too big.”

Morales contacted every airline he could think of with a flight from California to North Carolina, but each time he got the same answer — Dusty and Wyatt were just too large for any commercial flights.

Staff Sgt. Morales’s wife Kristen says her heart sunk at the news that they may not be able to bring their dogs to North Carolina with them.

“They quickly became a big part of our family,” Kristen says of Dusty and Wyatt, “they’re my babies.”

That’s when the rescue group who brought the dogs from Afghanistan to California posted a plea for help on their Facebook page, hoping someone, somewhere would be able to help the Morales family keep their beloved dogs. No one could have guessed their good Samaritan would be anyone well-known, much less a world-famous heiress.

But when Helen A. Rosburg, the great-granddaughter of chewing-gum tycoon William Wrigley, read a Facebook message from a friend detailing Morales’ predicament, the heiress and animal advocate knew she was in a position to help bring Dusty and Wyatt home where they belong. Since no commercial flight would carry two Anatolian Shepherds, Rosburg decided to charter a private jet to fly Dusty and Wyatt to their new home in the Tar Heel State.

“He was going to lose his dogs and I said ‘Not on my watch,” Rosburg tells ABC News.

Rosburg says she was more than happy to help this hero reunite with his best friends.

“He’s fought for our freedoms and he is a hero because he rescued two dogs,” Rosburg says of Staff Sgt. Morales.

Helping others — especially military families — runs in the family, Rosburg explains.

“The Wrigleys are an extremely patriotic family and I am a true Wrigley child,” she says proudly.

Rosburg is also the founder of her very own animal rescue organization, On the Wings of Angels Rescue in Tampa, Florida, a labor of love for the heiress and philanthropist.

As for the Morales family, they couldn’t be more grateful for Rosburg’s act of kindness.

“From the bottom of me and my wife’s hearts we really appreciate what she did for us,” says Staff Sgt. Morales.

He hopes to be able to soon thank Ms. Rosburg in person one day.

Sources: ABC News, 10News.com