After injured stray trekked 75 miles to find him, pilot got him home to U.S.

You couldn’t find a more contented dog than the mutt sprawled on the couch in the TODAY studio, his head resting on his master’s thigh, a loving hand petting around his abbreviated ears.

But if those ears — cut off near the dog’s skull — give the impression that there’s more to this scene than just the timeless bond between a man and a dog, you’d be right. They are the source of his name — Nubs — as well as a reminder of the war-torn land he came from: Iraq.

The man petting him Monday while he talked to TODAY’s Meredith Vieira in New York is a Marine pilot, Maj. Brian Dennis, who met Nubs in October 2007 while on duty at a border fort in Iraq. There are a lot of wild dogs in Iraq, running in packs and hanging out around forts.

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Dennis didn’t set out to pick one to be his special friend. That was all Nubs’ doing.

The story of their friendship and Nubs’ eventual transition from dog of war to laid-back California pet is so extraordinary Dennis ended up writing a children’s book about it. The book, “Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine & a Miracle,” was just published by Little, Brown Young Readers.

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