As we honor our military service men and women on Veterans Day, we would be remiss in not honoring our four-legged veterans as well. To illustrate, there are currently over 3000 active duty service dogs stationed in America as well as deployed overseas. Military working dogs have served alongside our men and women in uniform for generations. What makes a great military dog? Loyalty, bravery and hard working are just a few characteristics that describe the American military canine.
The First Official Military Dog
Born in 1916, Sergeant Stubby served in WWI for 18 months and participated in 17 battles in France. A hero unlike any other, this Boston terrier helped his fellow soldiers by alerting them when to duck for cover, warn his unit of poison gas assaults and help locate wounded soldiers. When he was behind the lines, he excelled at his job of improving morale among the troops. Subsequently, when Stubby returned home to the US with his human, Corporal Conroy, he become an American celebrity. As a result he even when to the White House to meet the President. After Stubby’s passing in 1926, his remains were sent to the Smithsonian Institute as America’s first honored war dog.
Military Dog Resume
What does it take to be a canine soldier? Most military dogs are large breed dogs: German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labrador Retrievers. In contrast, the small size of Sergeant Stubby made him quite unique. These 3 breeds have an incredibly strong sense of smell, in fact 40 times greater than a human. Bomb detection skills are at an incredible 98% accuracy with these military dogs. Active duty dogs have to be incredibly smart, well-behaved and maintain the right level of aggression and excitability. Today’s military dogs are valued members of their units. They are even awarded medals and honors for their services.
For the most part, despite their unwavering heroism and dedication to their military careers, most veteran dogs were euthanized or abandoned when they became injured or too old for service. For this reason, “Robby’s Law” was passed in 2000, allowing military dogs to be adopted by their handlers, private adopters or transferred to law enforcement agencies. Similarly, in 2016, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act. This allowed military dogs who retired overseas to be reunited with their handlers back in the United States. The dogs are guaranteed a ride home and adoption to their humans after their service ends.
US War Dog Memorial
Dedicated in 2006, the US War Dogs Memorial in New Jersey, honors our nation’s war dogs and their handlers – past, present, and future. The memorial, designed by sculptor Bruce Lindsay, consists of a bronze statue of a kneeling soldier and his dog, set on a black granite base. This statue depicts Marine Ron Aiello and his dog Stormy, who trained together and were stationed in Vietnam.
Cammies and Canines
Together with Cammie’s and Canines, Dog is Good is proud to partner for our Patriots Program. This charitable organization helps with veteran-to-veteran support and provides canine companionship to our human veterans. DIG donates a portion of the proceeds patriotic tees to benefit the veterans and their dogs at Cammie’s and Canines.