Pen Farthing, who founded a nonprofit that reunites soldiers at home with stray dogs and cats they took in during combat, has been named the 2014 CNN Hero of the Year.
“There is no stronger bond between man and dog than that formed during war,” Farthing said Tuesday evening.
The announcement was made Tuesday night at New York’s American Museum of Natural History, where Anderson Cooper hosted “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.” The event honored the Top 10 CNN Heroes, everyday people making extraordinary efforts to change the world.
“Wow, I am absolutely at a loss for words,” Farthing said Tuesday as he accepted the award. “This is absolutely amazing. I would really like to thank everybody who voted for the Nowzad charity and what we do in Afghanistan and believing in us. And I would also like to thank all the other heroes in this room for doing what they do to make this world an absolute better place. Thank you guys for doing what you do. Thank you.”
In 2006, when Farthing helped break up a dogfight in the town of Nowzad, Afghanistan, the Royal Marine sergeant didn’t think much of it. The war-torn town was overrun with dogs.
But when one of those dogs followed Farthing back to base, it was soon hard to tell who rescued whom.
Farthing named his new friend “Nowzad,” and as a result of his struggle to bring Nowzad home to his native England the next year, Farthing founded Nowzad Dogs to help other soldiers whose lives were turned around by the animals they befriended in war-torn towns.
Source: CNN | Katie McLaughlin