The emotional story of the mother who adopted the dog of her military son killed in combat

The comedy of 2022 “Dog”, starring the famous actor Channing Tatum, tells the story of a member of the Army who is tasked with taking Lulu, a military dog, to her handler’s funeral. But for Tammie Ashley, a mother of three who lives in the US state of California, “Dog” is more than just a movie: it is the story of his family.

Ashley’s son, Marine Sgt. Joshua Ashley and a military dog ​​handler, was leading a patrol outside Zombalay Village in the Helmand Valley, in Afghanistan in 2012, when he was hit by an improvised explosive device and died. He was 23 years old. His dog, Sirius, survived.

“They came and knocked on my door, just like you see on TV”Ashley told Today. “I couldn’t even concentrate. She felt like she was going to vomit. It was to the point that my oldest son had to tell them to stop talking.”.

Sergeant Joshua Ashley, pictured with his military dog, Sirius, while serving in Afghanistan.  (Photo: Tammie Ashley)
Sergeant Joshua Ashley, pictured with his military dog, Sirius, while serving in Afghanistan. (Photo: Tammie Ashley)

In the army, guides are required to recite the following: “Where I go, my dog ​​goes. Where my dog ​​goes, I go”. Before he died, Joshua told his sergeants that one day intended to adopt Sirius and bring him home: his dog was his best friend, his life partner, his other half.

A few weeks after the death of his son, Ashley made plans to bring Sirius home.the last living part of his son. “Sirius was very young, so we chose as a family to let Sirius continue to serve.”he explained. “I didn’t want to bring him back home just to have him sit in the backyard. So she continued to serve and made another deployment.”he added.

Homecoming of a hero

In February 2016, after his second deployment, Sirius was allowed to go home with Ashley and her family.

“They did a wonderful job at Camp Lejeune: they did a royal retirement ceremony for him”Ashley said. “As soon as I signed the paperwork to get it, we ended up taking it to dunkin donuts to eat some donuts. Then we went back to Camp Lejeune for everyone to say goodbye.”.

Ashley said that bringing Sirius home brought her many emotions: pain, joy, sadness, comfort. “I cried a lot. I would tell Sirius that I wish he could talk, so you could tell me about my son”he indicated. “But our city was wonderful: there were hundreds of people waiting at the airport and they walked us home with him. So it was a great welcome.”he added.

Tammie Ashley, pictured with her two surviving children and Sirius.  (Photo: Tammie Ashley)
Tammie Ashley, pictured with her two surviving children and Sirius. (Photo: Tammie Ashley)

There was also an adjustment period for Sirius and the Ashley family. “I had marines there to help me, dog handlers to help me, with the transition of bringing him. They stayed with me the first day”Ashley explained. Like many retired military dogs, Sirius had a bit of anxiety and didn’t like other dogs.

Ashley saved Sirius. And she said that Sirius saved her. “For me, it was comforting for me”said. “Josh never had children. Sirius was his baby. The trainers are the ‘dads’ of these dogs. Just having him there and knowing he was a part of Josh helped me.”

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