Best Friends Fight to Stay Together, Paws of War Steps in to Help Soldier and Her Rescued Cat

    Photo courtesy of Paws of War


    Photo courtesy of Paws of War

    There are certain places in the world where it is standard practice to be brutal to stray cats and dogs. One U.S. soldier stationed overseas is experiencing this first-hand and is on a mission to get Gustavo, the cat that has become her best friend, moved to America, where he can live out his life in safety with her. She has turned to Paws of War to help pull off the mission and keep these best friends together forever.

    Gustavo was a stray cat that hung around the base and caught the attention of U.S. Army Sergeant Melissa Fleckenstein. She took the cat in, and the two became best friends. Then one day, Gustavo was captured outside the base by pest control, taken 15 miles away, and dropped off to fend for himself. Sgt. Flekenstein was heartbroken and thought she would never see him again.

    Two months later, she heard the cat at the base and couldn’t believe her eyes. He was skinny and wounded from being attacked by another animal but had somehow traveled the distance to make it back to her. She vowed at that moment that she would get him to her home in America, where he could live out his life safely and with love.

    “When Gustavo was transported away from the base to somewhere near the next town, I honestly thought I wouldn’t ever see him again. It was like a miracle when I heard him meowing outside two months later,” says Sgt. Fleckenstein. “He had fought hard to return to me, and I was so relieved to see him. He isn’t safe here, and the life he’ll be left to endure if he can’t make it to America is unthinkable. He deserves a better life, and I hope to provide that for him.”

    Sgt. Fleckenstein has turned to Paws of War to help move Gustavo to America. They have a War-Torn Pups and Cats program that helps in such situations. They have helped many soldiers get their adopted cats and dogs to America. Still, it can only do so with the compassionate support of members of the public, who are the driving force behind all the organization can do.

    “When we heard about Gustavo’s determination to make it back to Sergeant Fleckenstein, we knew we had to do everything we can to help make sure this special bond he and his soldier have isn’t broken,” says Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “The bond between our active military members and the animals they protect and care for overseas is stronger than many others due to the environment in which they are living, and when it comes to our heroes returning home, they are unable to play a role in getting the animals they now love like family out of danger, and that is just devastating for them.”

    To donate to help support getting Gustavo to America so that these two best friends can stay together, visit the site here:

    Paws of War has been operating worldwide since 2014, helping the military save the animals they rescue while deployed overseas. They have helped veterans with numerous issues, including suicide prevention, service and support dogs, companion cats and dogs, food insecurity, veterinary care, etc.Paws of War has a large loyal following of supporters and looks forward to working with new corporate sponsors to support these life-saving programs. To donate, visit its site at:


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