While Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman was fighting in Iraq several years ago, he stumbled across a 5-month-old puppy, who quickly won his heart. Kopelman named the puppy Lava and decided to keep him, even though it was against army regulations to keep a pet. But Kopelman could not bear to part with Lava, and with only a few months left in his tour, the race was on to find a way to get Lava to the United States.
Kopelman and a group of friends (including Marines, reporters and Iraqi civilians) undertook a top secret mission to find a way to get Lava home. But this proved more challenging than he originally thought. At one point, Lava was hidden away close to Kopelman’s General! That’s when a military dog trainer heard what was happening and decided to intervene.
Watch the video below to learn the full story of Lava’s journey and the soldier who refused to leave him behind!
Kopelman has also written a book about Lava’s rescue available on Amazon.