By Colleen Flaherty
Fort Hood Herald
Like the Jansen family's five other dogs, Wifi is a rescue.
Unlike the Jansens' other dogs, which have come largely from local shelters, Wifi comes from much farther away — half a world away in Afghanistan.
But aside from some personality quirks (car sickness, a penchant for attacking towels and an aversion to camera "clicks"), Wifi has adjusted quite well to life in the U.S. since he got here last month.
"He goes everywhere with us," said 13-year-old Paige Jansen during a recent walk at Lions Club Park.
Grant Jansen, 4, added, "He can swim!"
The Killeen kids helped raise money for 5-month-old Wifi, his two siblings and mother, Daisy, to be brought to the U.S. from Afghanistan during national Lemonade Day last month. They raised $313 selling lemonade outside their home as part of the entrepreneurial event for kids, which they donated to the nonprofit Puppy Rescue Mission. The Maine-based organization helps military personnel who have adopted dogs in war zones bring them back to the U.S. as pets.
"It helped me understand what money can go toward and how it can help people," said Paige of Lemonade Day, which encourages kids to donate earnings to a favorite charity. "It changes the way I look at how people spend money."
Paige and Grant heard of Puppy Rescue Mission from a family friend, Master Sgt. James King, 89th Military Police Brigade, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan. He and fellow soldiers befriended the dogs, who lived just outside their remote outpost in Paktika province, and wanted to bring them home to adopt them at the end of their deployment.
They posted all four dogs' profiles on the Puppy Rescue Mission's website that's helped more than 300 dogs come to the U.S. since 2010. While funding for several of the dogs' transport already had been raised before Lemonade Day, including Wifi's, the Jansens' efforts pushed the remaining dogs into the safety zone. All are currently in the U.S. Wifi is staying with the Jansens until King returns at the end of the year.
"I miss seeing him every day and how excited he would get to see me, as well," King said in an email from Afghanistan. "But I am so happy he is there in the (U.S.) and safe from the dangers here."
Diseases are common, he said, and Afghan attitudes toward dogs are different from those in the U.S.
King said he was grateful the Jansens were willing to keep Wifi until he got home, and that Wifi's brother, Cane, is in Arizona with a friend of a fellow 89th Military Police Brigade soldier who will adopt him when he comes home. Wifi's sister, Brandy, and mom, Daisy, are in Ohio with the spouse of a soldier who will adopt both when he gets back.
For their efforts, Paige and Grant received a placard recently for third place in Lemonade Day's best business contest.
The family took Wifi to the awards ceremony.
"This lady came up to us in tears, and said it was so great what the kids were doing," said Elvy Jansen, the kids' mom. "It made me cry, too."
Contact Colleen Flaherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHFortHood.
For more information on The Puppy Rescue Mission, go to www.thepuppyrescuemission.org.