By: Robert Mueller
Did you know that the United States has been using military working dogs since the Revolutionary War? They were first used as equipment pack animals but throughout the years have offered their services as drug and explosives detectors, messengers, sentries, and scouts.
During the time of World War II thousands of families in America offered their dogs for enlistment in the US military – the K-9 Corps – once it became known that the armed forces of the United States needed dogs.
Service dogs are used today in Iraq, Afghanistan and in any area of the US military where needed. The breeds most commonly used are Shepherds and Labradors although Dobermans were also once a preferred breed trained for war. Unfortunately, these wonderful service dogs are not treated as well as we might expect.
When the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, the serving military dogs, now classified as “equipment,” were simply left behind! It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Over 4,000 service dogs were left in Vietnam. Many handlers tried their best to bring them back home but the military orders were firm – a big “NO”. Only about 200 made it back- and no one really knows what happened to the 4000 that were left there. Many were euthanized or handed over to the South Vietnamese Army. Many of these wonderful, loyal, dedicated animals that risked their lives for our country and our service men did not get to come home. But there is a great organization today working on behalf of these animals.
The United States War Dogs Association
In our research we found that the main organization working on behalf of service dogs is the United States War Dogs Association. A description of our canine heroes from their website: “It has been estimated that these courageous canine heroes saved over 10,000 lives during the conflict in Vietnam.
Today all branches of our Armed Forces are utilizing Military Patrol Dogs specializing in Drug and Bomb/Explosive detection. There are approximately 600-700 of these canines in the Middle East in such places as Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They are being used to patrol Air Bases, Military Compounds, Ammunition Depots and Military Check Points. They are guarding and protecting our Military Personnel as they were trained to do, with Courage, Loyalty and Honor.” Many call them the “Soldier you don’t know.”
This year, in honor of Veteran’s Day, BARF World will make a charitable donation to the United States War Dogs Association. Let’s be clear – while we don’t support war, we believe in the humane work that this organization does for these animals and their handlers and the necessity to recognize their heroism. If you’re interested in learning more about their activities, please visit Operation Military Care K-9 at: http://uswardogs.org/id40.html
From all of the BARF World team,
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist, author of “Living Enzymes: The World’s Best Kept Pet Food Secret”, and co-developer of BARF World’s® BARF Diets® patties, nuggets and supplements – the first company to make the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods (BARF®) diet conveniently available to animals everywhere. To receive more articles like these in your email inbox, click here to sign up for “The Intelligent Pet” weekly e-zine absolutely FREE!