The Pups of War
January 18, 2009 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Sergeant Pen Farthing of the Royal Marines likes dogs.

So he rescued some. Then he founded a charity to try to rescue the rest.
posted by Dipsomaniac (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I just came in here to snark about the lame first link and to make fun of his name, but the "more inside" links save this post. Cool guy, nice stories.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:55 AM on January 18, 2009


Won't someone think of the puppies?! Oh wait, he already did. HOORAY FOR PUPPIES.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:31 AM on January 18, 2009

aww. Good people are nice. I'm glad he's taking care of those dogs. So many paradoxes in the story. I'm glad he chose to break up the dog fights-as-entertainment.

For anyone who wants to snark at this soldier's name but doesn't know how, the old British coins used to be called Penny and Farthing (a quarter of a penny). A penny farthing is the name of a certain kind of bicycle with a huge wheel in front. And now he's an author, it's a good pen name.

Related post, Pye dogs in India and Asia.

As a young Westerner in Asia it was interesting to observe myself and other Westerners giving so much to animals, when poor people around us needed help as much, or more. In many ways giving to dogs is easier. They are almost always instantly grateful and affectionate. Pye dogs (typically blond, which is the default color for strays) are usually exceptionally intelligent and amazingly loving. They also have Bette Davis eyes with lots of eye liner.
posted by nickyskye at 10:45 AM on January 18, 2009

I was thinking as British squaddie's silly nicknames go, his is far better than the ones though up by our racist young prince and his chums. Also, good lad, nice doggies.
posted by Abiezer at 10:53 AM on January 18, 2009

Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? That's you, Mr. Farthing! Yes it is! He's a good boy.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:43 PM on January 18, 2009

Finally I understand why penny farthing bikes are called that! A little round thing and a big round thing!

Also, hooray for Pen and his pups!
posted by moonmilk at 4:52 PM on January 18, 2009

The little things like this almost make up for the ills of the middle east situation. Only an NCO could be so cool.
posted by buzzman at 5:20 PM on January 18, 2009

posted by infinitywaltz at 10:24 PM on January 18, 2009

I think this guy and his team are doing wonderful, necessary, fantastic work.

I'm reminded, though, of my trips to various parts of Greece where I saw the saddest street dogs -- starved, limping, still pathetically friendly to people. I know the same problem exists in many other cities in many other countries-- developing countries, war zones, but also prosperous European places like Greece and Spain. To say nothing of China.

In many places, what a British or American person would see as barbaric animal abuse is seen as routine and normal-- dogfighting; drowning kittens; working donkeys, mules and horses to death. The people who do this aren't more than the normal ratio of decent to vile: it's down to a cultural viewpoint that sees animals basically as troublesome animate objects, not possessing emotion or personality. Not, in other words, as anything remotely like us.

I think that to solve this problem, a way has to be found to get the next generation to doubt and question that mindset. Rescuing individual creatures from their hellish surroundings is an extremely good thing to do, but to change things in the long term, the cultural norms involved have to change. I wish I had the faintest idea of how to begin this.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:23 AM on January 19, 2009

A few of those dogs looked a lot like my Odie. I had to go hug him and his sister.

That said, good on this lad and his wife for caring about/for these little ones. I was amazed while reading the Daily Mail article about how the others started coming once he'd rescued Nowzad. It's seriously as if they were talking amongst themselves and saying, "Hey, this place is safe. Go there."

If that isn't an indicator of the emotional and mental intelligence that animals possess, I don't know what is....
posted by arishaun at 6:24 PM on January 19, 2009

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