Craig Grossi signed up for the Marines soon after the attack on 9/11. Upon arrival in Afghanistan he was told three unofficial rules: No beer, no porn and no dogs. With dogs, there was some concern about rabies, but mainly it was about the danger of distraction. Within days Craig had met Fred, a happy-go-lucky stray, who scrounged for food around the encampment. Craig started to feed him scraps and a vital friendship was born. The only question was how to get Fred out of Afghanistan and back to the states. This book is a dog story and a road trip, but it's also an exploration into the long road back to normal for our veterans.— From Mark B.
The uplifting and unforgettable true story of a US Marine, the stray dog he met on an Afghan battlefield, and how they saved each other and now travel America together, "spreading the message of stubborn positivity."
In 2010, Sergeant Craig Grossi was doing intelligence work for Marine RECON—the most elite fighters in the Corps—in a remote part of Afghanistan. While on patrol, he spotted a young dog "with a big goofy head and little legs" who didn’t seem vicious or run in a pack like most strays they’d encountered. After eating a piece of beef jerky Craig offered—against military regulations—the dog began to follow him. "Looks like you made a friend," another Marine yelled. Grossi heard, "Looks like a 'Fred.'" The name stuck, and a beautiful, life-changing friendship was forged.
Fred not only stole Craig’s heart; he won over the RECON fighters, who helped Craig smuggle the dog into heavily fortified Camp Leatherneck in a duffel bag—risking jail and Fred’s life. With the help of a crew of DHL workers, a sympathetic vet, and a military dog handler, Fred eventually made it to Craig’s family in Virginia.
Months later, when Craig returned to the U.S., it was Fred’s turn to save the wounded Marine from Post-Traumatic Stress. Today, Craig and Fred are touching lives nationwide, from a swampy campground in a Louisiana State Park to the streets of Portland, Oregon, and everywhere in between.
A poignant and inspiring tale of hope, resilience, and optimism, with a timeless message at its heart—"it is not what happens to us that matters, but how we respond to it"—Craig & Fred is a shining example of the power of love to transform our hearts and our lives.
Raised in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, Craig Grossi is a Marine Corps veteran, recipient of the Purple Heart and Georgetown University graduate. When not travelling with Fred, he devotes his time to veteran organizations including the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program and the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation. He now lives in Maine with his partner Nora, and their dogs Fred and Ruby.
You can find them online at www.fredtheafghan.com.