Pen Farthing founded a nonprofit that reunites soldiers at home with stray dogs and cats they took in during combat, was named the 2014 CNN Hero of the Year last night by Anderson Cooper.
"There is no stronger bond between man and dog than that formed during war," Farthing said Tuesday evening.
In 2006 Farthing helped break up a dogfight in Afghanistan, when he was deployed. One of those dogs followed Farthing back to base.
Farthing named his new friend "Nowzad," and as a result of his attempts to bring the dog home home to England, Farthing founded Nowzad Dogs to help other soldiers whose lives were turned around by animals.
For being named Hero of The Year Farthing will be awarded $100,000 for his cause.
"Speaking from my own experience," Farthing said, "I know that the dog I looked after was my saving grace from the stress of conflict. And because of that initial bond, the work goes on: reuniting soldiers with their companions, tackling rabies, and training veterinarians in Kabul. I would like to thank everybody for their support. We're making a difference for the Afghan people, the soldiers and one dog and cat at a time."
To date, Nowzad Dogs has reunited nearly 700 soldiers with the animals they adopted in Afghanistan.