The Story of Dyngo, a War Dog Brought Home From Combat

That first night, Dyngo sat on my hotel bed in an expectant Sphinx posture, waiting for me. When I got under the covers, he stretched across the blanket, his weight heavy and comforting against my side. As I drifted off to sleep, I felt his body twitch and smiled: Dyngo is a dog who dreams.

But the next morning, the calm, relaxed dog became amped up and destructive. Just minutes after I sat down with my coffee on the hotel patio’s plump furniture, Dyngo began to pull at the seat cushions, wresting them to the ground, his large head thrashing in all directions.

He obeyed my “Out!” command, but it wasn’t long before he was attacking the next piece of furniture.

Inside the hotel room, I gave him one of the toys the handlers had packed for us—a rubber chew toy shaped like a spiky Lincoln log. Thinking he was occupied, I went to shower. When I emerged from the bathroom, it was like stepping into the aftermath of a henhouse massacre. Feathers floated in the air like dust. Fresh rips ran through the white sheets. There in the middle of the bed was Dyngo, panting over a pile of massacred pillows.

Over the course of the morning, Dyngo’s rough play left me with a deep red graze alongside my left breast. On my thighs were scratches where his teeth had hit my legs, breaking the skin through my jeans.

Later, at the airport, with the help of Southwest employees, we swept through the airport security and boarded the plane. The pilot kicked off our six-hour flight by announcing Dyngo’s military status, inspiring applause from the whole cabin.

Dyngo was allowed to sit at my feet in the roomier first row, but he soon had bouts of vomiting in between his attempts to shred the Harry Potter blanket I’d brought. I finally pushed it into the hands of a flight attendant, beseeching her to take it as far out of sight as possible—if necessary, to throw it out of the plane.
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