Harley is a U.S. soldier’s dog — a loyal, lively, floppy-eared mutt saved from the bomb-scarred mountains of Syria — but her life is again in danger.
Since Aug. 24, Harley has been caged and in limbo at JFK Airport, on the last leg of her journey to rejoin the Air Force combat vet who saved her life.
Now, if an unexplained federal paperwork snafu is not cleared up immediately, she will be driven on Friday morning from New York to Chicago.
From there, Harley will be flown back to the Middle East, instead of home to the soldier who loves her.
And this time, he will not be able to save her.
“Harley means the world to us,” Air Force combat vet Amjad Kirrish says in a video plea for the dog he rescued as a crying puppy while on deployment earlier this year.
“We’re asking anyone’s help to save our dog Harley from being sent back to the Middle East, and facing certain death.”
Harley had been found by Kirrish’s unit early this year — barely alive in the Syrian mountains, where she was snuggling with her dying mother alongside her dead littermates.
She would live in Kirrish’s own quarters as the unit’s beloved mascot for the next six months.
“She just wanted to give us love,” Kirrish recalled to The Post on Thursday.
“She stayed in my room. So after coming back from a mission, tired, sometimes overnight, her face, her tail wagging — her seeing me — made my day.
“I couldn’t even get my gear off, sometimes, with her wanting to jump all over me — I’d be half patting her, half trying to get my body armor off.”
When Kirrish’s unit was redeployed, and couldn’t take Harley with them, the combat rescue dog group Paws of War worked to get the dog safely flown to New York.
But for reasons that remain frustratingly unclear to the organization and Kirrish, the Centers For Disease Control is insisting on not releasing Harley from JFK, and instead plans to ship the dog back this week on the next plane to Jordan.
“Please,” Kirrish says in his video, sitting alongside his wife, Scarlett, in their home in Southern California, where he remains a hero — this time as an Air National Guard reservist and a full-time firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service.
“Anyone’s help — anyone’s help — would be much appreciated,” Kirrish begs in the video.
“We just want our baby home,” Scarlett adds as the video ends.
‘She became an American in their eyes the minute they saved her. Harley should not be going back to the Middle East. She belongs to our country now.’ — Robert Misseri, Paws of War
As co-founder of Paws of War, Robert Misseri has moved hundreds dogs to the U.S., reuniting them with the former soldiers who’d rescued them overseas.
But Misseri told The Post he’s never seen anything like the story of Harley.
Misseri believes Harley’s troubles stem from a second dog that traveled alongside her from the Middle East to New York last week.
That dog was Berry, a paralyzed border collie mix who traveled in a separate crate in the cargo hold of the same Royal Jordanian Airline plane that brought Harley to New York.
Customs mistook Berry’s paralysis and post-flight agitation for possible rabies — so both Berry and Harley were flagged.
But while Berry’s plight made national news, including in The Post, resulting in her eventual release from JFK, Harley remained behind.
The CDC has explained to Paws of War that Harley’s hangup is a missing veterinarian’s signature on her rabies certificate, Misseri told The Post.
But Paws of War has repeatedly emailed back, pointing out where in the paperwork a Jordanian vet had indeed signed off on the dog’s vaccinations.
“I wrote the CDC, showing them the signature, and saying if there is a clerical issue, can you tell us where? Is there something we can do?” Misseri said.
“But that was it. All I get now are automatic replies — ‘Your case is denied; your appeal is denied; the dog is going to be shipped back to Jordan.”
The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Five New York members of Congress have written to CDC director Robert Redfield, urging the dog’s release to Paws of War: Kathleen Rice, Gregory Meeks, Thomas Suozzi, Peter King and Lee Zeldin.
Misseri and his Nesconset, NY-based organization are still holding out hope — as is Kirrish.
“She became an American in their eyes the minute they saved her,” Misseri said of Harley and her unit.
“Harley should not be going back to the Middle East. She belongs to our country now.”
He added, “Keep in mind, the Middle East is a very unfriendly place for dogs, unfortunately.
“Dogs are seen as dirty. It’s a cruel world for them … They nursed her back to health,” Misseri said of Kirrish’s unit.
“So when his unit was leaving the country, they knew if they would leave her behind, she was going to fall into the hands of bad people, or starve to death, and that was something they were not going to do.” Harley’s journey has already been an arduous one.
Kirrish and his unit personally delivered Harley to Paws of War in Jordan. Much of the journey from Syria to Jordan was by convoy, with the seriously car-sick pooch traveling by armored military truck.
“When she gets carsick, she starts to drool profusely,” Kirrish remembered. “She threw up several times. I was able to be there and comfort her the whole way out to Jordan.”
Then, a sad goodbye.
“I told her that I knew this part of the journey was going to be hard for her, not knowing what was going on,” Kirrish remembered.
“But that in the end, she was going to have two parents who would give her the world. And she would have a big sister in our other dog, Zoe,” an Australian cattle dog.
“They would be able to just run around in our yard and be spoiled together.”