13 Military Working Dogs That Will Fill Your Heart With Pride
Lifestyle| | By Jason Owen
While military troops are rightfully praised and appreciated for their tours of duty protecting American interests overseas, we wanted to take a moment to heap some praise on the little guy. And by little guy, we mean that quite literally: the four-legged “man’s best friend” who’s often by his soldier’s side on service missions abroad.
According to USWarDogs.org, there are approximately 1,200 of these dog teams in action at one time in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
“When war dogs are in the operation, the IED (improvised explosive device) detection rate jumps to as high as 80 percent,” the website adds.
Military working dogs (MWDs) are nothing new in combat with records indicating dogs were used in combat as far back as 600 BC by Alyattes of Lydia against the Cimmerians, according to blog Bullets2Bandages.org. Dogs first “officially” fought alongside American soldiers in World War II, but have unofficially been part of the ranks since the Revolutionary War.
USWarDogs.org notes that “1,300 dogs from each service branch are trained at Lackland [Air Force Base] (341st) annually for patrol and bomb/drug detection.”
The military employs official Puppy Development Specialists, which sounds like the best job in the world.
German shepherds are some of the most widely used breed for military training, but other breeds often used are labrador retrievers and each military branch uses the Belgian Malinois, a breed similar to the German shepherd but smaller. The smaller dog makes them better for parachuting and rappelling (yes, the dogs can do that too).
— We Love Dogs, USA (@WeLoveDogsUSA) February 2, 2017
After a dog has completed its service (or if dogs are trained but fail to pass requirements to go into the line of duty), the Department of Defense has an adoption program that allows the dogs to be sent to loving homes. In 2009, the DoD created a special rule — in accordance with the November 2000 “Robby Law” — that allows the dog’s handler to have first priority to adopt the animal. According to USWarDogs, more than 90 percent of former MWDs are adopted by their handlers.
For all their hard work and training, let’s all salute these brave animals, a job well done, and to finding loving forever homes after their service.
(Special thanks to Military Working Dogs for permission to use photos from their Facebook group.)
— Devil Dogs??USMC (@MilitaryMadnes1) February 13, 2017
— ऽᥑmऽᥑЯᥑ (@SamsaraKush) February 1, 2017