Dogs in the Military. Photos.

dogs on rappel from helicopter

I see pictures of dogs in the military (many more below), risking their lives out of their complete devotion to their trainer, and I am overwhelmed with feelings I am unable to articulate.  These dogs do these honorable deeds not for political reasons, not for religious reasons, not for monetary reasons…. they do this because they believe and they trust their master.  Dogs are truly amazing animals….

Here is a brief rundown on the history of dogs in warfare (source Wikipedia) followed by some amazing photos.

  • 628 BC: The Lydians deployed a separate battalion of fighting dogs.
  • 525 BC: Cambyses II used huge fighting dogs against Egyptian spearmen and archers.
  • 490 BC: Battle of Marathon: A brave fighting dog was immortalized in a mural.
  • 385 BC: Siege of Mantineia: Fighting dogs cut off enemy reinforcements.
  • 101 BC: Battle of Vercellae: Large Cimbri dogs led by women defended their wagon forts.
  • 1525: Henry VIII exported 400 mastiffs to support Spain.
  • 1580: Elizabeth I sent 800 fighting dogs to fight in the Desmond Rebellions.
  • 1799: Napoleon assembled large numbers of fighting dogs in front of his reserves.
  • 1914: The Belgian Army used carabiniers, strong-muscled Bouvier des Flandres to haul heavy machine guns to the front.
  • 1914–1918: Dogs were used by international forces to deliver vital messages.
  • 1941–1945: The Soviet Union used dogs strapped with explosives to destroy invading German tanks.
  • 1943–1945: The United States Marine Corps used dogs, donated by their American owners, in the Pacific theater to help take islands back from Japanese occupying forces. During this period the Doberman Pinscher became the official dog of the U.S.M.C.; however, all breeds of dogs were eligible to train to be “war dogs of the Pacific”. Of the 549 dogs that returned from the war, only 4 could not be detrained and returned to civilian life. Many of the dogs went home with their handlers from the war.
  • 1966–1973: Approximately 5,000 US war dogs served in the Vietnam War (the US Army did not retain records prior to 1968); about 10,000 US servicemen served as dog-handlers during the war, and the K9 units are estimated to have saved over 10,000 human lives. 232 military working dogs and 295 US servicemen working as dog handlers were killed in action during the war. It is estimated that about 200 Vietnam War dogs survived the war to be assigned at other US bases outside the US. The remaining canines were euthanized or left behind.
  • 1979–1988: The Soviet Union again used dogs, this time in the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
  • 2011: United States Navy SEALs used a Belgian Malinois war dog named Cairo in Operation Neptune Spear, in which Osama bin Laden was killed (the first picture below is of Cairo).

Dog Bless You – Facebook “LIKE” and Support Our Vets!

dog bless you

DOG BLESS USA

From Memorial Day through July 4th, Explore.org will pair up to 100 companion and service dogs, valued at $500,000, with veterans who live with PTSD.  For every 5,000 “Likes” on their Facebook page, a vet will receive a service dog.

Currently, the “Like” count is at 206,908.

The Facebook page:  Dog Bless You – Join Dog Bless You and Support Our Vets!

Joining is simply clicking on the “Like” button. Nothing more.  No forms, no emails, no verifications, etc.  Just click “Like”… cannot be any more simple that that.

“The mission of explore.org is to champion the selfless acts of others, to create a portal into the soul of humanity and to inspire life long learning. The most important thing for me is to create a portal into the soul. What is the easiest way to do this? Through dogs – they see our soul like no other. That is why as we build dog bless you, I believe that it’s mission should be to “champion the selfless acts of animals.”

The initiative aims to spread awareness about the healing role dogs can play in the lives of those suffering from PTSD.

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Dog Bless You was founded by filmmaker Charles Annenberg Weingarten, a trustee of the Annenberg Foundation and also the founder of Explore.org. Partners in this effort include the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) and other veteran and service dog organizations.

“Dogs are serving this country unlike any other animal — from the battlefields of war, to the front lines of search and rescue to the ranks of police and fire forces across this country to the everyday person in need of a companion,” said Weingarten in a prepared statement. “We want to raise awareness about the amazing role dogs can play in the lives of veterans and people who suffer from emotional and psychological damage, while giving everyone a chance to participate through a zero-cost contribution.”

“Doctors, psychologists, and certainly veterans will all attest to the incredible benefits dogs bring to those suffering from the impact of war,” said Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of IAVA.

PTSD service dogs can help veterans and other trauma survivors to reduce their anxiety levels and — for those who are physically disabled — navigate through the world. They can also be trained to wake their humans up from nightmares or to remind them to take their medications. “I see big increases in confidence with the dogs,” Jennifer Petre, founder of the service-dog training organization Stiggy’s Dogs recently told Hometownlife.com. “The veterans aren’t as worried as much with the dog. It takes pressure off them.”

According to a survey by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (cited by a report at PsychCentral), 82 percent of patients with PTSD who received service dogs experienced a decrease in symptoms, while 40 percent found they were able to reduce their medications.

In addition to simply liking the Dog Bless You Facebook page, people are invited to upload patriotic photos and videos and share personal dog-related stories.

“I’m sure during the course of this campaign, we’ll see and hear some amazing stories from our brave service people whose dogs have been a prime source of salvation,” said Rieckhoff.

According to the nonprofit Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, it costs about $20,000 to raise, train and place a medical service dog.

The Dog Bless USA Challenge Grant runs from Memorial Day (May 30) through July 4.

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