Chris with Bear
Anna with Alphy
Chris, Low Rider, Hesco & Target
Puppy Rescue Mission (“PRM”) is the brainchild of Anna Cannan Chiasson, president and founding member of PRM. In 2010, Anna’s fiancé (now husband), Chris, was deployed to and stationed in Afghanistan. A few weeks prior to Chris’s arrival at his combat outpost, a suicide bomber entered the post in the middle of the night. The dogs on the post immediately started barking and took off in pursuit of the bomber. One of the dogs, Rufus, grabbed the bomber’s leg while two other dogs, Target and Sasha, alerted the troops. Realizing his cover was blown, the suicide bomber blew himself up never making it into the living quarters of the soldiers. Thankfully, all the soldiers survived the attack with only a few sustaining injuries. Sasha did not survive the attack and was laid to rest at the post. A pregnant Target, who was badly injured in the blast, was later nursed back to health along with Rufus.
Shortly after the attack, Chris arrived at the post where they befriended the dogs as well as Target’s litter of puppies who were only 4-5 weeks old. Being the animal lover that Chris is, he and some of the other soldiers started taking care of the dogs in their spare time. As time went by, the dogs became very fond of the soldiers who were caring for them. An instant, unbreakable bond formed between the soldiers and the dogs as the dogs provided a sense of normalcy for the soldiers at Chris’s post that rarely exists in a country like Afghanistan.
The soldiers at Chris’s post continued feeding the dogs from their own plates, caring for the dogs on a daily basis but, most of all, treating the dogs as if they were their very own. According to Anna, she didn’t hear from Chris very often but when she did, she could literally “hear the smile on Chris’s face as his voice would light up when he would talk about all the dogs at the post.” Realizing his time at the post would eventually come to an end, Chris spoke with Anna about the idea of bringing some of the dogs back to the States.
Anna brainstormed as to how to raise funds to help bring back 7 of the dogs, affectionately known as “THE LUCKY SEVEN”. While juggling work and school, Anna began her fundraising efforts by selling candles and running an online raffle to help rescue the dogs. Realizing that transporting 7 dogs back from Afghanistan was a very expensive process, Anna started a Facebook page for her fundraising which became known as “Puppy Rescue Mission”. At the time, the cost of rescuing a dog from Afghanistan was about $3,000 which was utilized to cover the cost of the dog’s vaccinations, transport from the base to the shelter, transport to the nearby airport as well as airfare from Afghanistan to the dog’s respective new home.
Supporters on Facebook began to grow at an amazing rate of speed as did the donations being made to support Anna’s fundraising cause. Once enough money was raised to transport “THE LUCKY SEVEN” back to the states, Anna decided that PRM needed to continue as there were many more soldiers who, like Chris, needed help in bringing their furry friends home from deployment.
While the military does not condone befriending animals, dogs and cats alike tend to find their way into the hearts of many soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. According to Anna, “it’s as if the animals know the difference between the heart of an American versus that of an Afghan" as Chris would tell her stories of how dogs growl at the Afghan soldiers but show nothing but love towards American soldiers. So, Anna felt it only fitting to continue in her fundraising efforts through PRM as a tribute to all those soldiers who have served our country, as well as to all the animals who have loved the soldiers and who have been heroes in their own right.
In founding PRM, Anna recognized that there are thousands of stray animals without homes in the states, and would not contribute to the overpopulation already an issue in America, which is why PRM stands by their rescues for life. According to the Afghan culture, if a person is bitten by a dog, the person cannot get to Allah, the god Afghans worship, as dogs are considered to be a disgrace. Animals in Afghanistan are literally treated like trash, used for target practice, blown up, run over, used in fights, or worse. If an animal is lucky enough to find its way to a American military base and is befriended by the soldiers, then the base becomes the animal’s home, a sanctuary where the animal finds love for the very first time in their life. As such, Anna felt it should be PRM’s mission to help these animals and soldiers live together in the US, as it would be devastating to turn them back out into the wild, something that would torment their soldiers forever.
As for the dogs at the posts, Anna says that they amazingly learn to protect the soldiers like Rufus, Target and Sasha did that evening when they prevented a suicide bomber from killing over 50 soldiers. In light of such heroic efforts like those of Sasha, Target and Rufus, Anna believes that “no soldier should ever be faced with the decision of leaving a beloved animal behind if there is a way to get the animal back to the soldier’s home" so the mission of PRM simply has to continue on.
Since the rescue of “THE LUCKY SEVEN”, PRM, through the efforts of Anna and several close confidantes, has continued to grow exceeding the expectations of even Anna herself. Now a decade after its initial inception on Facebook, PRM has raised money to bring over 3,500 animals home and is continuing to grow each and every day, helping more and more soldiers to bring their furry friends from over 50 countries back home.
PRM works directly with several organizations in Afghanistan & other countries, arranging medical care for the soldiers’ animals as well as transportation for the animals to their forever homes.
Anna, PRM’s Board of Directors, as well as their coordinators & Adoption Team would like to thank each and every person who supports the mission of PRM. They consider each and every one of its supporters to be an integral part of the PRM family. Without its family, PRM would not be able to continue helping soldiers and their furry friends alike in maintaining the unbreakable bonds of love formed in foreign countries where many animals are treated inhumanely and normalcy exists.
Thank you for your continued support,
Puppy Rescue Mission
Chris & Anna grew up on the USA & Canadian border in Maine. They began dating in high school & eventually married in 2013. In 2009, Chris was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army to Pakita province, Afghanistan. This deployment eventually led to the to the creation of Puppy Rescue Mission. In 2018, they welcomed the newest member of their family~a baby boy named Wyatt, this completed their family of 6 ~ Chris, Anna, Wyatt, Bear, Alphy & Griz. In their free time they enjoy snowmobiling, fishing, traveling & spending time with friends & family.