March 13 is K-9 Veterans Day! Thousands of dogs have gone bravely into battle with their human friends, and have truly gone above and beyond when serving. It’s only fitting that their sacrifice and dedication should be recognized with a special day. A Bourne, MA vet discusses K-9 veterans in this article.
Fido actually has been serving in our wars for a very long time. One of the earliest—if not the earliest—recorded instance of dogs in battle goes back to 600 B.C., when they helped the Lydian king fight an army of invading Cimmerians. Later on, dogs were trained to charge into enemy ranks, breaking up formations and creating chaos. Medieval dogs sometimes wore armor into battle, just like their humans. Our canine companions also helped us by catching rats, carrying messages, guarding prisoners, and finding food and water on islands. As for the actual term K-9, that dates back to World War II. The U.S. Army started the War Dog Program on March 13th, 1943, giving this holiday its start.
K-9s serve in many different roles, including search and rescue, bomb and explosive detection, patrol, tracking, and criminal apprehension. Although many types of dogs can serve as K-9s, the ones most commonly found on the job are the German Shepherd, Bloodhound, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherd, and Retrievers. In recent years, these brave dogs have gained more recognition, and even have their own ceremonies and medals. Since 2000, when President Clinton signed a bill into law, retired K-9s can legally be adopted. Of course, most K-9s are adopted by their handlers.
Dogs have helped our military in many ways. They also serve soldiers who have come home from service with PTSD. Here at Sandwich Animal Hospital Inc., we are proud to work with Heroes in Transition. This group helps veterans in several ways, including by providing them with assistance and therapy dogs. The group was founded in memory of Capt. Eric A. Jones, a Marine helicopter pilot who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2009. Although these pooches are typically therapy dogs, rather than actual K-9 veterans, they are definitely worthy of recognition. To learn more about this wonderful organization, visit their website here.
Please contact us, your local Bourne, MA vet clinic, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!