Monkey wins soldiers’ hearts, minds

Soldiers take the chain from Lucy’s neck and build her a bigger, better cage.

It’s not uncommon for soldiers in Afghanistan to forge casual friendships with some of the animals they encounter during the months they spend in a foreign, forbidding and often decidedly unfriendly country. Troops have been known to befriend everything from dogs to donkeys.

“It’s a release,” Florian said. “You know what they say, especially about pets: they can take a lot of the pressure away, and they do. You feel like you’re home, you feel like you’re normal.”

For soldiers who are a world away from home and working in a war zone, anything that can ease the stress is a welcome diversion, said Marcotullio, who said he’s seen soldiers keeping camel spiders, scorpions and even baby vipers as pets.

“You always think about soldiers, and they’re tough and all that, but they love their dogs and monkeys.”

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