|Photo Credit: (Kimberly Launier/ABC News)|
The story about soldier Justin Rollins and the dog Hero he helped to save from the streets of war-torn Iraq will certainly make the heart of even the most hardened individual soften. Justin had found the little puppy among a litter of eight living inside a derelict port-a-potty on the night before he was tragically killed in action. A fellow solider had taken a group of photographs of a beaming Justin, carefully holding the tiny puppies with great affection.
When the news of Justin's death reached his parents Rhonda and Skip and fiancée Brittney at home in New Hampshire, they were inconsolable. When Army officials attending Justin's funeral asked if there was anything they could do to assist the grieving family, Rhonda immediately asked if they could bring her one of the puppies Justin was photographed holding the night before he was killed.
The officials agreed in an offer to comfort the family, all the while realizing that it would more than likely be an impossible mission. When local news media in New Hampshire got wind of the story, it quickly became front page news, spurring on the effort to find one of the dogs and bring it to the States for a new, loving home. Eventually, one of the dirt-covered, hungry puppies was discovered and was brought home to a deeply moved Rhonda, Skip and Brittney. They immediately christened the dog Hero in honor of Justin.
On an overcast day in early fall, reporters, crew and photographers visited the Rollins' home in picturesque Newport, New Hampshire to do a human interest piece on Justin and his incredibly moving story. While photographer Kimberly Launier was taking pictures of the now fully-grown Hero, she saw a serenely beautiful beam of light enshrouding the courageous dog. She quickly photographed Hero bathed in the beautiful light, not knowing whether or not the heavenly halo would show up in her photographs. She quickly discovered that it had, almost as if the spirit of Justin was still alive and inhabiting the dog that now has a wonderful new life because of a brief encounter with a soldier who possessed a heart of true gold.
To read more about this amazing story, you may visit the following ABC links:
Hero the Dog
Bringing Hero the Dog Home