Young Soldier Injured In Afghanistan Reunites With Puppy He Rescued

The photo of soldier Donny Eslinger and a puppy in his backpack has been widely circulated on the Internet for years. But I never knew the story behind the photo until now.

donny eslinger with puppy he rescued

Donny Eslinger with puppy Smoke he rescued. Photo credit: Eslinger family

20-year-old Donny Eslinger was serving in Afghanistan when he stumbled upon as a puppy and knew he had to adopt him. He named the dog Smoke and carried the pint-sized puppy around in his backpack. Just a month later, Donny was seriously injured in a mortar fire attack and was flown back to the U.S. to recover. But Smoke had to stay behind.

Donny’s dad, Seminole County sheriff Don Eslinger Sr., set out to reunite Donny with Smoke, knowing the puppy would help raise his ailing son’s spirits. With the help of the 1-24 Infantry Battalion of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Donny’s family raised enough money to reunite Smoke with Donny.

The video below highlights their story and their happy reunion! Share their amazing story with your friends!