Louisiana's Daily Advertiser has a fascinating profile of Wren Thomas, who spent 18 days as the prisoner of crack-smoking, Dolly Parton-loving Nigerian pirates. Or as the paper calls it: "one of the world's most mind-blowing stories." While Wren was working an offshore oil job in Nigeria in 2013, his company was threatened by people angry that local villagers hadn't been given jobs. Wren was personally threatened with death at one point. Then early one morning a crew member woke up to tell him pirates had boarded the boat. The crew tried to hole up in the engine room, but it didn't work. “They found an electric grinder and made a hole in the metal watertight door,” Thomas says. “Once they did that, they started firing rounds into the room from their AKs.”
Afraid someone would be hit by a ricocheting bullet, Thomas surrendered. While the mostly Nigerian crew was released, Thomas and his chief engineer spent the next 18 days as the pirates' prisoners. “They played six or seven cell phones at once, blasting Dolly Parton and 50 Cent, while they smoked crack, smoked pot, and drank," Thomas recalls. "They told us when we first left our ship, that if anyone came looking for us, they would kill us." Thomas thought he was going to die. His company paid a ransom to the pirates, and he was released. But his ordeal didn't stop there. Once home, he suffered panic attacks and nightmares and was diagnosed with PTSD. Then Thomas met his "soulmate" and "guardian angel": a Rottweiler named Beaux. Read the full story here to find out why Thomas says the dog saved his life.