Remembering Military Working Dogs
On this Memorial Day, a day when we remember and honor the brave women and men of the military that sacrificed their lives for their country, let us also remember and honor the unsung heroes of war—the military working dogs who also faithfully serve our country.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, dogs began an official role in the U.S. military with the creation of the Army K-9 Corps in 1942. Currently, nearly 1,600 dogs help detect drugs and explosives all over the world. Military dogs attend a 120-day Military Working Dog Training Program before they are ready to serve. After completing the program, the dogs are assigned to a handler and spend several weeks with them building trust before they begin training in the specific skills they will need to do their job.
Detecting drugs and explosives is not the only way dogs serve the military. Many dogs are trained to provide comfort and support as service dogs to veterans. They help those suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), seizures and other medical conditions, and those with disabilities, helping veterans with tasks daily tasks like opening doors, assisting with laundry, and turning on lights.
There are many organizations that provide services to veteran dogs and their handlers. Let's take a look at some of them.
Hero Dogs in Maryland, train and place dogs with disabled veterans in the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area at no cost to the veteran.
They provide Service Dogs that help a veteran achieve independence by doing tasks that they cannot do without assistance. They also provide Skilled Home Companion Dogs that provide support for a range of physical or psychological challenges, and Facility Dogs that are trained to work in residential or health care environments providing animal-assisted therapy through qualified clinicians and staff.
Paws and Stripes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, provides service dogs for wounded veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
The dogs come from local animal rescues and shelters, and are provided to veterans at no cost. As their motto says, "Helping Dogs, Helping Heroes."
The United States War Dogs Association provides support throughout the life of a military working dog and honors their history and service.
Among their many programs is The War Dog Medical Care Program that offers free prescriptions for retired dogs. The program also helps families who have adopted retired military dogs that need specialized care; assists dogs that suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and stress; and work with veterinary orthopedic surgeons to provide customized wheelchairs for retired dogs. For those retired dogs who have been certified as blind or severely sight impaired, this program provides funding for the assessment and fitting of specialized 3D imaging transmitters for these dogs. to
Mission K9 Rescue in Texas, Colorado and California provides support to retiring military dogs.
The organization brings military working dogs back to the U.S. from overseas, reunites them with their handlers, re-homes them through adoption, and rehabilitates those dogs suffering from PTSD or other stress related ailments.
Courtesy United States Department of Defense
We salute all veterans including military working dogs and thank you for your service.
For more information on military working dogs, check out the Department of Defense’s Four Legged Fighters and Chewy’s, Military Working Dogs: How These Courageous Canines Save Lives.
To learn about more organizations that work with military working dogs, check out 11 Dog Charities And Nonprofits That Help K9s And Veterans.