Remembering War Dogs

Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John F. Looney. This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain in the United States.

Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States, is a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country.

Not to be confused with Veterans Day, Memorial Day is a day of commemorating those men, women, and yes, dogs who have died while serving this country.

Dogs have been by man’s side and served in “mankind’s wars since at least 600 B.C. when the Lydian king deployed dogs to help break the invading army of Cimmerians,” according to Dogs have fought alongside of American forces in every conflict since the Revolutionary War – but only officially since WWII.

Today all branches of our Armed Forces are utilizing Military Patrol Dogs specializing in Drug and Bomb detection. There are approximately 2800-3000 of these canines stationed around the world with their Handlers in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, just to name a few. They do everything from guarding posts and facilities to tracking the enemy and defending soldiers in combat.

Military working dogs are trained to jump out of helicopters, repel down walls, swim long distances, and sniff out bombs from up to two miles away. In the Middle East, the dogs face far more formidable enemies than they have ever faced before, a vicious climate and a rugged terrain. The climate challenges them with temperatures repeatedly over 130 degrees, the rocks and hot sand torture their paws, the blowing sand stings their eyes, but they keep going with the care of their handlers.  A dog’s loyalty is one of unquestionable strength in the process of war.

Recently, CBS news featured a story about heroic military dogs and how they are responsible for saving numerous U.S. soldiers’ lives.

Unfortunately, not all war dogs survive their mission. There are memorials to military dogs throughout the country, including the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The memorial honors dogs who served in all five branches of the service in all wars since WWII, and bears the inscription, “Dedicated to all U.S. Military Working Dog Handlers and their beloved dogs who defend America from harm, defeat the enemy, and save lives.”

This Memorial Day as we honor our fallen heroes, let us not forget the four-legged K-9s who helped our soldiers fight for the freedoms we all enjoy today. Join Braxton’s Animal Works as we remember our fallen heroes by attending the Radnor Memorial Day Parade.

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