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Once in combat, now forgotten

Throughout existence, dogs have been instrumental in many endeavors…some for sport, and others vital to human survival.  Dogs today are at the forefront of new cancer treatments, they protect homes and families, and some are willing to sacrifice their lives in combat situations to ensure military personnel are not injured or killed.  These dogs perform their duties in an exceptional manner, never once complaining the job is difficult or too dangerous.  Never demanding better food, or a break.  Their only desire is to see their handlers safe and content with the day’s mission.

Wars today demand swift-moving militaries, capable of winning wars quickly and decisively, with sophistication and stealth.  Dogs have historically been suited for these very strategic goals, and are utilized by every military in the world.  The United States started using dogs in 1942, but their use wasn’t extensive.  Germany, Russia, France, and Belgium used them as messengers, guard dogs, and as patriotic symbols.  No matter what their use, dogs provided a loyal arm to the soldiers they worked with.

This is why I’m very troubled by the current policy regarding military dogs.  They are called upon to sniff out explosives, enter dangerous areas, and die if the situation calls for it.  Soldiers depend on them for many reasons, and rely on these dogs for support and companionship.  Unlike human veterans, once a dog’s military service is up, they are tossed aside as used equipment.  The government doesn’t pay to bring them home, nor do they offer any financial assistance to the handlers who wish to adopt them.  The handler alone is required to pay the fees necessary to bring these dogs home.  The cost can be staggering and most soldiers cannot afford it.  These dogs are left behind after performing their duties, and many are forced to live as scavengers, depending on the locals for food and water.

As a veteran, I find this appalling.  These dogs are a part of a unique group of men and women, and their service should be rewarded not forgotten.

What you can do to help military dogs: Sign this petition at Change.org: “Tell the Secretary of Defense: Military Dogs Are Veterans, Not Equipment“. 

 

The following clip is a testament to their loyalty:




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  1. Melissa

    Wow. Great article. I did not realize the extent to which these dogs aided US soldiers in combat, particularly over the last few decades. It is hard to believe that it took until 2000 for memorials to be erected in their honor. According to this website, http://www.war-dogs.com/, dogs prevented over 10,000 American casualties during the Vietnam War. These numbers are staggering and should hopefully incentivize people to bolster enough support for these dogs, so that they can receive the respect and care that they deserve.


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