This upcoming Monday, we recognize the men and women who have died serving this country. We remember members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. There is a group that often gets forgotten though; military service dogs who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Military dogs are extremely tough and are put through intense training to help our men and women stay safe in the field. They can detect bombs, weapons, drugs, as well as track and attack the enemy. Military dogs are more effective than any other military equipment there is. Because of the requirements and standards, only about 50% of dogs make it through training.
Once these animals complete training they are paired with a handler and an amazing bond can be formed. If the handler is killed in combat, the dog will mourn them. Some will even refuse to use another handler. The military used to treat these animals as “surplus” and would euthanize or abandon them if they were too old to continue or if they wouldn't work with a new handler after the death or retirement of their first. “Robby's Law” was passed in 2000, which allows handlers and their families the first chance to adopt military dogs when they retire.
If a military dog dies in service, they are honored by the whole unit, with upside down feeding dishes being symbolically used in the display. There isn't a number on the amount of military dogs we have lost, as they have been our companions through every major conflict, long before we kept those records. There are many places that honor these dogs, including this site .
Please remember our K-9 heroes this weekend!