Did you know that March 13 is K9 Veterans Day? Dogs have been accompanying soldiers to war for thousands of years. In fact, records of military dogs go back to the 7th century BCE. These brave dogs, now called Military Working Dogs, or MWDs, definitely deserve recognition. A Bourne, MA vet discusses K9 veterans below.
K9 Veterans Day was started by a Vietnam veteran named Joe White, who was himself a K9 handler. He chose March 13 because that was the date that the US K9 Corps was originally created, back in 1942. The holiday was first recognized in New Jersey, and today is recognized by several states.
One thing we’re happy about is the fact that protections for K9 veterans have greatly increased in recent years. Before 2000, there was no legal protection or provisions for these dogs. Many were abandoned overseas, while others were euthanized. After one handler lost his petition to adopt his retired K9 buddy, legislation was introduced in the dogs’ favor. Bill Clinton signed the Robby’s Law bill into law in 2000, opening the door for K9 adoptions. Then, in 2015, another law was passed, this one requiring that the DOD pay for retiring K9 veterans to be returned to America. Nowadays, many K9s are adopted by their handlers.
Today’s military dogs go through training with the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The dogs are carefully selected, and must pass many rigorous tests before beginning work.
K9s carry out a wide variety of tasks. Tracker dogs follow trails, while bomb and mine sniffing dogs look for explosives. There are also sledge dogs, who perform rescues in snowy or remote areas, and attack dogs, that are used for apprehension and capture. Scout dogs serve as quiet watchdogs, messenger dogs deliver messages through combat situations, and casualty dogs find the wounded.
Are you interested in adopting a K9? This is possible, though it’s important to realize that these are working dogs. Many have doggy PTSD, and may need time to get used to retirement. That said, this is a wonderful way to give one of these brave pups a happily ever after. You can learn more at the United State War Dog Association here.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local Bourne, MA animal clinic, today!