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By Joey Bunch for The Denver Post

COLORADO — Julie Flint had the terrible task of breaking the news to her son this morning: The dog he had adopted while he was deployed in Iraq is missing in east Jefferson County’s Friendly Hills neighborhood.

“I told him she was missing,” Flint said this afternoon, as she began to choke back tears. “It was OK. It was OK. He said it was OK.”

The mother of the 25-year-old Colorado Army National Guard soldier had picked up Heidi, the Iraqi mutt, at Denver International Airport Tuesday night.

Just a few minutes after arriving at her new home on South Coors Street near West Quincy Avenue and C-470, south of U.S. 285, Heidi bolted out the door, after wiggling out of her collar and leash, Flint said.

“Something about opening the door freaked her out, and I wasn’t ready for that,” she said.

Flint and Jefferson County Animal Control officers are making an impassioned plea for help to find and return the soldier’s dog.

Heidi was just a stray pup roaming around the gate of Camp Ar Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, when soldiers took her in.

Spec. Shawn Flint, a 2003 graduate of Bear Creek High School, took over the care of Heidi soon after he was deployed to the base along the Euphrates River in August. He is scheduled to come home in May, his mother said.

Operation Baghdad Pups, run by SPCA International, had helped fly the dog to Denver.

Heidi has a ID chip. She is a mixed breed about a year old. She has a white chest, floppy ears and resembles a well-fed greyhound, Flint said.

She is initially afraid of people, but if they lower themselves to her level and offer blueberry Pop-Tarts, blueberry muffins, bologna or cheese, she will come over for a snack.

Anyone who sees Heidi can contact Flint at 303-697-5843 or 303-408-5001, or the Jefferson County Animal Control at 303-271-5070.