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While on deployment, sometimes service members come across puppies.

It’s almost inevitable that every company and platoon position adopted at least one stray dog. The bond usually starts with a service member tossing an unwanted piece of flatbread to a stray eating trash on the side of the road. After that, the deal is sealed, and the unit has earned a mangy but adorable friend for the rest of its tour.

Lance Cpl. James R. Borzillieri, a gunner with 81 mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, plays with a puppy during his break between patrols, in Marjah, Afghanistan, May 9. Marine and Afghan soldiers went out on a 48-hour operation, where they manned checkpoints and conducted patrols around the market and residential areas in the center of the city.
Lance Cpl. James R. Borzillieri, a gunner with 81 mm Mortar Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, plays with a puppy during his break between patrols, in Marjah, Afghanistan, May 9. Marine and Afghan soldiers went out on a 48-hour operation, where they manned checkpoints and conducted patrols around the market and residential areas in the center of the city.

In the months after the push to clear the city of Marjah in 2010, a small pack of stray dogs had the run of the battalion headquarters, and their ring leader was a cantankerous old mutt with short stubby legs and crooked teeth named Fred, who would follow around the battalion sergeant major in the hopes of getting an MRE as a treat. There were also the puppies that hung around the observation posts, where the rules against having dogs were more or less unenforceable.

These dogs often become a part of the unit’s family, so Task & Purpose took to the internet to find the best photos of puppies on deployment in honor of #nationalpuppyday.

Here are eight puppy deployment photos that are too adorable for words.

The newest recruit to join Operation Enduring Freedom

A U.S. Army Soldier from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, holds a puppy during a patrol in Waza Kwah District, Paktika Province, Afghanistan, July 10, 2010.Army Photo by Sgt. Jeffrey Alexander
A U.S. Army Soldier from Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, holds a puppy during a patrol in Waza Kwah District, Paktika Province, Afghanistan, July 10, 2010.

 

Huddling for warmth in Afghanistan

Six small puppies huddle together for warmth at Combat Outpost Zanbar, Khowst province, Afghanistan, Nov. 10, 2009.DoD photo
Six small puppies huddle together for warmth at Combat Outpost Zanbar, Khowst province, Afghanistan, Nov. 10, 2009.

 

Manning an observation post

U.S. Army Spc. Ahren Blake, a combat medic from Clinton, Iowa, with Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, holds two puppies he found at an observation post in the Aziz Khan Kats Mountain Valley range near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 15. DoD photo
U.S. Army Spc. Ahren Blake, a combat medic from Clinton, Iowa, with Company D, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman, a part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls, holds two puppies he found at an observation post in the Aziz Khan Kats Mountain Valley range near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 15.

 

Joining the military police brigade

U.S. Army Spc. David Cartwright from Martinsburg, W. Va., of the 1st Platoon, 230th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, improves community relations by engaging with local Iraqi puppies at the Iraqi Police District Headquarters in Mahawil, Iraq, on Dec. 21.DoD photo
U.S. Army Spc. David Cartwright from Martinsburg, W. Va., of the 1st Platoon, 230th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, improves community relations by engaging with local Iraqi puppies at the Iraqi Police District Headquarters in Mahawil, Iraq, on Dec. 21.

 

A veteran veterinarian holding a pup

U.S. Army Spc. Tommie Collier, from San Antonio, Texas, a veterinarian specialist assigned to the 72nd Medical Detachment, holds a puppy he found behind a school in Jalrez, Afghanistan, while Kirby, a military working dog licks the puppy's face during an Afghan Medical Personnel Skills Improvement Mission, Nov. 11. DoD photo
U.S. Army Spc. Tommie Collier, from San Antonio, Texas, a veterinarian specialist assigned to the 72nd Medical Detachment, holds a puppy he found behind a school in Jalrez, Afghanistan, while Kirby, a military working dog licks the puppy’s face during an Afghan Medical Personnel Skills Improvement Mission, Nov. 11.

 

Making friends on patrol

U.S. Army Soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division are approached by a pack of playful puppies as they talk to the resident of a home in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, Feb. 7, 2008.Army photo
U.S. Army Soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division are approached by a pack of playful puppies as they talk to the resident of a home in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, Feb. 7, 2008.

 

A puppy in Peru, reporting for duty

Spc. Helen Loar, a veterinary technician embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift, holds a puppy living at the Peruvian canine unit on Base Naval de Callao. Army photo by Spc. Jennifer Grier
Spc. Helen Loar, a veterinary technician embarked aboard High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift, holds a puppy living at the Peruvian canine unit on Base Naval de Callao.

 

A polite puppy host

A puppy and future sheep dog owned by Khalil Abrahim, a wheat and sheep farmer near Al Qayarrah, is uninterested in his master's hospitality toward American guests, offering the Soldiers chai tea outside his home near Al Qayarrah, Feb. 5. DoD photo
A puppy and future sheep dog owned by Khalil Abrahim, a wheat and sheep farmer near Al Qayarrah, is uninterested in his master’s hospitality toward American guests, offering the Soldiers chai tea outside his home near Al Qayarrah, Feb. 5.