CAMP PENDLETON - It was the flight of a lifetime for two dogs and a San Diego Marine who rescued them in Afghanistan.
Because they could not get a commercial airline to fly his dogs from San Diego to his family’s new home in North Carolina, an animal activist group stepped up to help.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Morales adopted the two Anatolian shepherds, named Dusty and Wyatt while deployed in Afghanistan.
The two are brothers from the same litter, strays that were looking at grim futures before he decided to take them in.
"They've experienced some pretty bad things," said Morales. "If you look at their ears, tails ... from what I understand, Afghans cut them off for fighting."
Morales and his family were recently transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from Camp Pendleton.
But before they could leave, they needed to find a way to get the dogs there.
They had no idea it would be such an ordeal.
"I called an airline and told them I would like to reserve a space for them. I paid for the tickets. Then they told me the dogs were too big,” said Morales.
The rescue league that helped Morales bring the dogs from Afghanistan to California posted a plea for help on their Facebook page.
“They quickly became a big part of our family, they're my babies,” said Kristen Morales, Andrew’s wife.
Helen Rosburg, an animal lover and the heiress to the Wrigley Gum fortune saw the rescue league's post on Facebook and without question, chartered a private jet to get the Morales family and their dogs to their new home.
"He's fought for our freedoms and he is a hero because he rescued two dogs,” said Rosburg.
“From the bottom of me and my wife's hearts, we really appreciate what you did for us,” said Morales.