RICHLANDS - A Marine family who were denied the passage of their dogs by airline to North Carolina stumbled onto some luck with an Heiress to the Wrigley Gum fortune.
SSgt. Andrew Morales was told his two, large, possibly Anatolian Shepherd, dogs were too big to fly on airlines. The dogs were rescued from Afghanistan in 2011 and brought to California. Morales was transferred from California to Camp Lejeune, but he wasn't sure how his dogs would make the trip.
The dogs, Wyatt and Dusty, had their ears and tails chopped off when they were young. Morales said that could be to prepare them for dog fighting. Morales adopted the two dogs, who are brothers, after they were picked up as strays.
"We just treat them like family now," Morales said.
Morales needed to relocate his whole family, wife Kristen Morales, and baby daughter Adrianna. He wasn't sure how he would do it without leaving the dogs behind.
When it looked grim, Morales got a call early one morning. He was told Helen Rosburg, heiress to the Wrigley Gum fortune would be sending a private jet to take his whole family to Eastern North Carolina, dogs included.
"I thought he was joking," Kristen Morales said about the call. "When he came in at 6:00 a.m. and told me I didn't believe it at first."
"For someone I've never met to do that it feels awesome," SSgt. Morales said. "Hopefully one day I will be able to meet her. Tell her thank you in person."
Rosburg said SSgt. Morales is a hero in more than one way.
"He's a Marine, he fought for our freedoms and he is a hero because he rescued two dogs," Rosburg said.
The Morales family left California for North Carolina Sunday Morning. They arrived in NC at 4:45 p.m.
Since then, the Morales family moved into their home in Jacksonville. Wyatt and Dusty have a large yard to play in. Kristen and Andrew Morales just wish to be able to thank Rosburg one day.
"From the bottom of me and my wife's hearts we really appreciate this," Morales said. "I don't where these dogs would be right now if it wasn't for you."