This is the time of year to remember the thousands of people who lost their lives in the war protecting their countries.
Each year we proudly wear our poppies and come together to remember and pay our respects to these soldiers on Veterans Day. Not everyone knows that Dogs have been fighting alongside soldiers in various wars for over 100 years.
Dogs were used for many different jobs in the wars mainly and they were often high risk such as being trained to sniff out explosives and enemy weapons. The most common breed of dog used was the German Shepherd, this is because they were intelligent, resilient and powerful.
During the 1970’s the American Air Force deployed over 1600 dogs worldwide. In World War II dogs returning form the war would be returned to their previous homes or alternatively to new adoptive homes. However during the Vietnam War the service dogs were deployed as an experiments, therefore if they could not be turned over to an allied army they were euthanized and never made it home. Thanks to protests from veteran dog handlers Bill Clinton approved a bill which allowed US military dogs to be re-homed with their military service.
There are many memorials that are specifically for war dogs such as the March Field Air Museum, CA, University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, TN and the Alabama War Dogs Memorials, AL. This is for veterans or civilians to be able to go somewhere to remember these brave animals and shows how highly respected they are.
Nowadays Israel is the only country that uses dogs as part of its military but service dogs still exist in various other job roles such as the police dog. They have much more specialised training compared to war dogs and are trained to viciously attack if their handler is under threat. A dog and an officer are paired for at least a year and can help with anything from narcotics cases to even smelling fruit in your luggage at the airport! The dogs have proved to achieve a 98% success rate in detecting explosives.
Over the years our canine counterparts have provided support, hard work and loyalty and we are proud that they are still a huge part of our countries security today. We will forever remember the service dogs that lost their lives alongside their human hero’s all those years ago.