BOOKS: Saving Cinnamon: The Amazing True Story of a Missing Military Puppy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2011:

Saving Cinnamon:  The Amazing True Story of a Missing Military Puppy And the Desperate Mission to Bring Her Home  by Christine Sullivan
St. Martin’s Press (175 Fifth Ave.,  New York,  NY 10010),  2010. 256 pages,  paperback.  $14.95.

Mark Feffer,  a U.S. soldier then serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan,  in December 2005 befriended a stray puppy he named Cinnamon.  Adopting Cinnamon was against military regulations,  but Cinnamon quickly became a base mascot anyhow. When Feffer and other members of his unit were due to be rotated back to the U.S.,  Feffer and his wife Alice arranged for a civilian dog handler who was employed by the U.S. military to escort Cinnamon to Chicago via Bishkek,  the capital of Kyrgyzstan,  a former Soviet Republic that borders Afghanistan.

Due to arrive in Chicago on June 9,  2006,  Cinnamon instead disappeared. Calls and e-mails suggested that the dog handler,  who was temporarily unreachable,  left Cinnamon at the Bishkek airport. Saving Cinnamon author Christine Sullivan,  who is Feffer’s sister, writes that the handler became enraged at Cinnamon.  Adam Silverman of USA Today and Kyra Kirkwood of Dog’s Life,   who wrote about the incident in 2008,  reported that the handler was simply unable to make flight arrangements to get Cinnamon beyond Bishkek.

A Turkish airline staff member found a foster home for Cinnamon with a local airline employee,  but Cinnamon was eventually found–starving–on a farm where she had killed three chickens.  She was reclaimed for the price of the chickens.  The Feffers recovered Cinnamon,  Sullivan recounts,  after the World Society for the Protection of Animals introduced her to Kygyz Animal Welfare Society founder Yulia Ten.  Her indefatigable efforts to trace Cinnamon’s whereabouts were instrumental.

Saving Cinnamon introduces many other heroes,  including soldiers who sometimes risk their lives to save dogs and cats like Cinnamon,  and friends,  family,  and rescue links around the world.  Saving Cinnamon is an expansion of 44 Days Out of Kandahar, now out of print,  which Sullivan self-published in 2008 under the imprint of New Hope for Animals.               –Debra J. White


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