Afghan villagers, surrounded and under heavy fire from Taliban extremists, were delighted to hear the steady thrumb of a US Apache helicopter growing ever louder. The noise meant their desperate calls for help had been heard; that someone out there cared, and a heroic rescue mission was in place. The village chief hurried to the cellar of the one stone building, the safest place now that mortar shells were detonating and blasting shrapnel through huddles of women and children.
He dragged the sandbags aside to enter the dark cellar, calling to those gathered within to prepare Snoop for evacuation. Snoop heard his voice, his understanding of the situation evident as he beat the floor with his tail, ears pricked with joy. It had been a tough few days for Snoop; whatever he’d scavenged from the bins behind the school clearly hadn’t agreed with him in a big way – first the retching, then the vomiting, and for the last two days some really evil smelling diarrhoea had left him feeling right off his usual dog biscuits and seriously reluctant to go on anything like his normal walks.
Obviously the whole village were desperately anxious as his motions stubbornly refused to normalise, and he even turned his nose up at some dilute Bovril. Tummy upsets like this became much harder to shake off once Labradors reached advanced years, like the 15-year-old Snoop.
Sturdy, brave tribesmen gathered, resolute and determined, to raise Snoop’s dog crate on a stretcher and race through the falling heavy ordnance to the dusty clearing where the US chopper was screaming in to land. Barely had the landing skids touched the floor they sprinted out with Snoop and bundled his crate aboard into its hold (where, of course, people cannot go). Mere seconds after landing, it lifted off again, the rescue complete; the Afghan villagers all followed its path towards the horizon with tear stained eyes – though they knew that their chances of survival at the hands of the brutal Taliban warlords were negligible, at least Snoop would be in safe hands and that, of course, was the main thing.