As if dogs couldn’t get any cooler, they went ahead and figured out how to serve and protect soldiers in active war zones. This isn’t a new concept. In fact, the ancient ancestors of today’s modern military pups trained, scouted, and tracked in remarkably similar ways. Civilizations as far back as the mid-seventh century B.C. employed dogs to rush, fight, haul, and protect. Today’s canine veterans are equally capable (if not more so), and are also leaned on for emotional support.
We Love Working Dogs
Canine veterans are recognized and acclaimed for their role in the military every March 13. This national event was established in order to commend the tens of thousands of dogs that devoted themselves to their handlers, occasionally placing themselves in the crosshairs.
Since World War II, canine veterans have been honored for their abilities to search, locate land mines or trip wires, deliver messages, and alert soldiers of enemy snipers or ambushes.
A Long and Lasting Impact
Search and rescue dogs, those that serve in customs, border patrol, drug enforcement, secret service, and of course, the military are acknowledged for their loyalty, focus, determination, and grit, sometimes paying the ultimate price. Since the army launched the K-9 Corps on March 13, 1942, over 30,000 dogs have been deployed to Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Did You Know?
One of the best things about canine veterans is their seemingly inexhaustible list of surprising facts, such as:
- Mastiffs were strictly employed by the conquistadors when exploring the Americas in the 1500s.
- To combat German tanks in the early 1940s, Russian troops tried to strap service dogs with explosives. Thankfully, this endeavor had limited success.
- Doberman pinschers were popular in the Pacific Islands to handle the intricacies of the Japanese occupation.
- Troops used about 10,000 dogs during the Vietnam war and have been directly linked with saving as many human lives.
- While most military working dogs are mixed breeds, Belgian malinois are considered an elite breed for military raids.
- Xerxes I of Persia was famous for the pack of hounds that accompanied him during enemy invasion.
- Dogs working in war zones in Vietnam weren’t brought home to be adopted by their military handlers or civilians. Due to the subsequent outrage, today’s canine veterans are always retired and adopted to their forever homes.
Military Working Dogs
From tracking to surveillance, search and rescue to guard duty, military working dogs remain some of the most esteemed members of the armed forces. Some enjoy mascot status, while others are highly recognizable therapy dogs throughout the states.
Without their heroic and gallant actions, our service members may not receive the same level of safety, effectiveness, or general well-being. For their service, we owe America’s canine veterans the best possible care.
Canine Veterans Today and Tomorrow
The history and influence of generations of canine veterans is well-known. We can only imagine the scope of their future involvement with the military, and for that we thank them.
If you have any questions about your own hero canine, feel free to give us a call at (210) 681‑1391.