Master Corporal Shane Seguin, a military police officer now based out of 15 Wing, was working with his twelve-man team and assisting Afghan forces in Kandahar province when he came across a puppy in distress.
“Me and my team were out at the FOB (forward operating base) and we came across this little puppy being kicked around by a group of kids,” recalled Seguin. “Rather than this dog being beaten to death, we put him in our pack and brought him back to our compound.”
According to Seguin, dogs — especially strays — are “seen as unclean” and frequently abused in Afghanistan.
The dog that his team rescued — eventually named Gunner — became a sort of mascot for the team, and a reminder of their lives back home. But when Seguin’s unit found out it was being relocated and Gunner couldn't come along, they didn’t want to turn him loose to be victimized again.
Instead, Seguin and his comrades sought the aid of Nowzad, an organization that rescues stray animals in Afghanistan, to find Gunner a home. Ultimately, said Seguin, Gunner came home — to Seguin’s girlfriend, Lisa Kneivel, back in Canada.
“At the end of the day, knowing what happens to dogs back there, we couldn’t leave him,” said Seguin. “After all is said and done, he’s back in Canada, happily ever after.”
For Seguin, this degree of compassion extends beyond animals.
Originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., Seguin spent a year on tour in Afghanistan, and served nine months at FOB Walton.
His duty there was to train members of the Afghan National Police (ANP) in advanced leadership tactics, principles of command, and the use of heavy weapons such as machine guns and rocket launchers, he said.
Kandahar province was one of the most volatile regions of Afghanistan and the primary theatre of Canadian operations within the country.
During his time there, Seguin was involved in firefights, but wouldn’t speak in detail about them.
“Your training just kicks in,” he explained.
“At the end of the day, when our missions were done,” said Seguin, “coming home was probably the biggest accomplishment, right?”
Now, Seguin is preparing to honour the soldiers who have served and died fighting for the country he calls home. According to him, Remembrance Day is an essential occasion that “I haven't missed since I was 11.”
Seguin said it is especially important to honour the sacrifices made by those who didn’t need to fight, but volunteered to do so, in every war.
“I respect those that volunteer to go,” Seguin said. “I appreciate, even more so, those that have gone in the past.”