This portion of the site is dedicated to the memory of Peter Neesley, and every animal loving veteran who has ever served and protected our country.
I never knew him, but Peter Neesley was not only a war veteran, but from what am told, he loved animals. You can obviously tell by the pictures that show him growing up. In November of last year, while serving in Iraq, Peter came across a stray female dog and her two puppies wandering the streets of Baghdad, as many dogs do. Peter knew the main reason for their wandering was because of the way that dogs are viewed in that region. They are looked at as filthy and dirty, and it is not uncommon at all to see kids throwing sticks or rocks at them.
After seeing one of the puppies get killed by a moving vehicle, and knowing what the consequences would be for the other two dogs, Peter began to start caring for the dogs. He actually built a dog house for them which you can see pictured. In a very short time he developed a great relationship with them. He named the mother "Mama", and the puppy Boris. Boris was named after a close comrade Peter had lost a few months earlier. He had communicated to his family about his two new four legged friends, and expressed a desire to bring them home with him. Unfortunately, that would never happen because Peter died on Christmas morning last year.
Peter’s family had a strong desire to complete Peter’s wishes and bring the dogs home. Getting together with the Best Friends Animal Society in UTAH, this group flew to Iraq, and arranged for the transportation of these two dogs back to the USA to be with the Neesley family. This was accomplished with the help of a lot of great people, and today, these two dogs are living a very relaxing and loving life in Gross Pointe Farms, Michigan.
I had heard about this story on CNN in January, and for some reason it really touched me. I have always seen celebrities going to Iraq to do things for the soldiers, and although my show airs on Animal Planet, I hardly think of myself as a celebrity. But this was my opportunity to do something positive for a family that lost a loved one serving our country, so I made contact with Carey Neesley, Peter’s sister. I told her that I was very touched by her brother’s story and said I wanted to come out there and spend a few days to help her with the training of her dogs. I had no idea what to expect or what they needed, but I made a decision to come.
In March I got a chance to meet the dogs and I cannot tell you what a pleasure it was. But there were a few things that I thought were really remarkable that I wanted to share with you. The first was that although these two dogs had been wandering the streets of Baghdad only four weeks earlier, I thought it was amazing that they were so relaxed in this home. In fact they each had already found their own place to sleep. Although they had only been there a few weeks, it seemed like they had lived there all there life.
Another thing that I thought that was interesting was that there was something in these dogs that really gave them a “loving” quality. There is no doubt that they had some minor training issues that we dealt with, but there was a part of them that really “touched me” in a very special way.
After meeting with Peter's family and spending a few days with them, I felt like I wanted to tell this story. I promised them I would write something on my website that would tell the readers about Peter, and the type of person he was. I hope as you finish reading this you take the time to tell someone you love how much they mean to you, because you never know what is going to happen from day to day.
I never knew Peter Neesley but for some reason after spending two days with these two dogs and Carey, for some reason in a very special way I think I do.
This picture was taken on March 13, 2008 with Carey, Boris, and Mama. I spent a few days at their home in Gross Pointe Farms helping her train them, and they did really well and continue to improve! I will be going back to follow their progress!