Canine: Khaista Chunk
Location: Garmsir Afghanistan/ JFK Airport
My husband is in the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. They ended up in Garmsir, a very dangerous place in 2008.They were living in some of the worst conditions imaginable for 4 1/2 months while fighting the Taliban. While they were pushing through, they had come across 3 sister puppies who were very young and very malnourished. They took them in and started feeding and taking care of them. The puppies became their companions and took care of the Marines in a lot of ways that most people wouldn’t be able to understand. When I was finally able to talk to my husband, he had told me about the puppies and the one he took in as his own. He had named her Chunk as she started to fatten up pretty quickly from all the MRES and snacks she was being fed. We later renamed her Khaista Chunk. Khaista is Pashto for “beautiful.”
I got to know Chunk through phone calls and emails with my husband and later pictures but I instantly loved her because she loved my husband and took care of him while I couldn’t and I’ll always owe her for that. I knew I had to find a way to get Chunk home, all of them if I could. After 3 months of a lot of hard work, a few wonderful people who worked miracles, fundraising and a lot of sleepless nights worrying, we were able to rescue Chunk and get her flown to the US where I picked her up at JFK airport. Was so excited to finally see her and touch her and keep her safe! She made it home in time to be at her Dad’s homecoming the following month were we all reunited. That was one of the best moments of my life to have them both home safe and sound and to be able to give my husband the gift of bringing his best friend home. Chunk has changed our lives in so many ways and people always say, “Oh, what a lucky dog” but, we are actually the lucky ones!