Pen Farthing, who founded a nonprofit that reunites soldiers at home with stray dogs and cats they took in during combat, has been named the 2014 CNN Hero of the Year.“There is no stronger bond between man and dog than that formed during war,” Farthing said.In 2006, when Farthing helped break up a dogfight in the town of Nowzad, Afghanistan, the Royal Marine sergeant didn’t think much of it. The war-torn town was overrun with dogs. But when one of those dogs followed Farthing back to base, it was soon hard to tell who rescued whom. Farthing named his new friend “Nowzad,” and as a result of his struggle to bring Nowzad home to his native England the next year, Farthing founded Nowzad Dogs to help other soldiers whose lives were turned around by the animals they befriended in war-torn towns.To date, Nowzad Dogs has reunited nearly 700 soldiers with the animals they adopted in Afghanistan. One soldier who was connected with Farthing’s organization is Staff Sgt. Edwin Caba. When a litter of puppies was born on Caba’s base in Afghanistan, the soldiers fed, bathed, bonded and cared for them. Caba bonded with one puppy in particular, a female he named Cadence. But when his tour of duty ended, Caba, an American, was heartbroken when he had to leave Cadence behind. Last year, Caba and fellow soldiers were reunited with the puppies in New York, through Farthing’s nonprofit.“When I pulled Cadence out of the crate at (the airport),” Caba told CNN earlier this year, “I was just so excited. I was even more excited that she remembered me. It kind of brought me back to coming back after a mission and having her there. It brought me right back to that feeling.”That feeling Caba spoke of is precisely what Nowzad Dogs is all about. “On every single street corner in Kabul you will find stray dogs,” said Farthing. “To be able to get that animal home to them, it closes the loop. … They don’t want to just abandon that animal.”Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Pen Farthing and other top speakers and celebrities.