Animal charities The Blue Cross and the Society for the Welfare of Horses and Ponies (SWHP), are supporting a fund-raising appeal to help the plight of a dog and cat currently living at a British base in Iraq.

Sandbag and Mascot, said to bring the troops luck, were adopted by soldiers as camp mascots at Um Qasa near Basra two years ago.

When the troops were pulled out in July they desperately wanted to keep the animals, but were forced to leave them behind. With US forces expected to withdraw by the end of 2011, the future of the animals is uncertain.

Steve Goody, the Blue Cross director of companion animal welfare, said: “They have obviously developed a close bond with our soldiers and played an important role during their time in Iraq. It is only right that they should be able to stay together and have a secure future as cherished pets”.

The government rejected a 6,000-strong petition to bring the pair back from Iraq to live with the soldiers who originally adopted them. The Blue Cross, which has a long history of helping animals in wartime, wants to raise enough funds to transport the animals to the UK and pay for quarantine costs.

The Blue Cross responded to a call from Emma Simpson from SWHP, to help raise the funds needed to transport Sandbag and Hesco back to the UK and pay for quarantine costs.

To make a donation towards the appeal, visit: or tel: 0800 4081831