Dogs have been members of the military for many, many years, but they weren’t always seen as soldiers. At least to the leadership.
During the Vietnam War, when the troops withdrew, the dogs were left behind as ‘surplus equipment.’ To this day, that fact haunts many of their handlers, who knew without a doubt that these loyal canines were nothing short of soldiers themselves.
It is not an easy job. More than 500 dogs are deployed serving the military at any given time. They protect, serve, give emotional support, and sometimes die in the line of duty. Up to 5% of canines are thought to suffer a canine form of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Fortunately today, attitudes towards military dogs have changed. Military canines are recognized as fellow soldiers, who are treated when injured, retired when done with their work, and thanked for the sacrifices they make without complaint.
Our veterans give so much and are so humble about what they go through in service to the country. I have so much respect for the sacrifices they and their families make every day. One day doesn’t seem like nearly enough to honor you.
Thank you, to the men, women, and canines of the armed forces.
If you’d like to see some amazing images, check out NatGeo’s Dogs of War gallery.