This Memorial Day, remember the dogs of war

Remembering the dogs of war

Military working dogs deserve our remembrance.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941,the United States inventory of military working dogs consisted of only 90 Siberian Huskies and Malamutes. These dogs were used as pack and sled dogs for rescue in areas of the world where motorized equipment could not go. In 1942 “Dogs for Defense” began a modern military dog-training program that would supply the demand for man ‘s Best Friend” for combat units and security in the European and Pacific theaters of WWII. Over 42 breeds of dogs were originally accepted for training, but by the summer of 1942 only seven breeds were suitable for combat situations based on intelligence and agility: Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Belgian Sheepdogs and Alaskan sled dogs.

These military dogs have saved countless numbers of lives. In Vietnam, the Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy used War Dogs  and they are attributed with having prevented over 10,000 casualties. In the past 60 years over 30,000 canines have loyally served this country saving untold numbers of Americans in battle. Many of these dogs would have received gallantry awards, if awards had been issued to dogs. But the only reward they asked for their bravery and loyalty was food, water and the praise of their handler.

Today, our Military Working Dogs are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as explosive detection, patrol, and walking point. The German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, and Lab are saving lives in the war zone like their ancestors have done since WWII.

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