Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Tag: Military Working Dogs

Honoring K9 veterans

Today is National K9 Veterans Day in the United States. It’s an annual observance on March 13, the anniversary of the date in 1942, when the Army started training for its War Dog Program.

Go to Military Working Dog Adoptions for more information on giving one of these retired veterans a forever home.
This is the header for the National K9 Veterans Day Facebook Page, by graphic designer Chris Crawford.

Chris Crawford, the designer of the National K9 Veterans Day Facebook group’s composite illustration above, added these notes about her illustration:

“The dogs depicted are the Belgian MalinoisDoberman, mixed breed, Labrador, and Husky and, of course, the German Shepherd in silhouette at the bottom. 

The breeds are commonly used working dogs. German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois are the most common working breeds now and in the past. The Doberman was used extensively In WW2, particularly in the Marine Corps, and the Husky and other northern breeds were used to carry equipment and pull sleds in WW2 and during the Cold War. 

The mixed breed dog in the center is Stubby, of WWI fame, but he’s representing all the mixed breeds and unusual breeds used by the armed forces and civilian agencies.”

I thought I should finish off this post with my all-time favorite tribute to Military Working Dogs and their handlers, by Josh Tannehill. You’ve seen it on this blog before, but it bears re-posting!

Image created by Josh Tannehill.

These magnificent animals have no choice in whether they will defend our country and our troops–but they give the full measure of their devotion and provide an important force-multiplying factor. We owe it to them to honor them, and make sure they are well cared for throughout their lives.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Tails of a Foster Mom for the “Honor our Veterans” adoption poster-image, to the National K9 Veterans Day Facebook Page and graphic designer Chris Crawford, for the inspirational composite image with the silhouette, and I am deeply appreciative to Josh Tannehill for the “I am the Sheepdog” image.

Never too late to thank K9 veterans!

Well, darn it–I missed it this year. K9 Veterans Day was Monday, on the 75th anniversary of the founding of the US Army K9 Corps. A couple days off or not, however, it seems reasonable to honor the bravery and sacrifices of the magnificent animals who help keep our nation, and its human defenders, safe.

Dogs have been going to war with their humans for millennia, of course. Sergeant Stubby, of World War I fame, was very far from the first, although his story is pretty cool.

So is the story of Rin Tin Tin, arguably the most famous war dog of World War I, thanks to his subsequent acting career.

Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd Dog–still one of the most popular breeds for Military Working Dogs.

Dogs for Defense was an American Kennel Club-associated World War II program that slightly predated the Army K9 Corps, and helped supply its need for dogs. They accepted a wider variety of breeds than we commonly see today–including Alaskan Malamutes and Collies.

Today, most Military Working Dogs and law enforcement canines are German Shepherd Dogs, Dutch Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois, chosen for their intelligence, aggressive natures, versatility, and athleticism.

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s interesting that all three breeds were originally developed to herd and protect sheep.

Meet Cairo, the Belgian Malinois who helped Seal Team Six kill Osama bin Laden

The famous Seal Team Six dog Cairo, who helped in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, was a Belgian Malinois. These dogs, which are slightly smaller and lighter-weight than, say, a German Shepherd, are often favored by Special Forces.

Liaka, shown here on the job in Baghdad, is a Dutch Shepherd.

What’s a Dutch shepherd? They almost didn’t make it through World War II, but now they’re one of the three top MWD and law enforcement breeds.

Like most MWDs who are retrievers, Cobo the chocolate lab is a tactical explosives detector.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the many retriever breeds (especially Labrador Retrievers, as well as Golden Retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers), which are especially prized for explosives detection. Occasionally other breeds also show up, from Springer Spaniels to Pit Bulls. The onetime favorite breed of the USMC, the Doberman Pinscher, is far less often found on the front lines today.

Whatever their breed, however, we owe them a debt of gratitude! We can make our thanks more tangible by supporting organizations such as Save A Vet, which make sure that once their military service is finished, these magnificent dogs can enjoy their retirement in a good home.

IMAGES: Many thanks to QuotesGram for the “Veterans” image. I am indebted to Wikipedia for the photo of Sergeant Stubby and the poster featuring Rin Tin Tin. I am deeply appreciative to Josh Tannehill for the “I am the Sheepdog” image.

Many thanks to the Fedhealth blog for the photo of Cairo. Many thanks to Gizmodo’s cool photo essay on Military Working Dogs for the photos of Liaka, the Dutch Shepherd and Cobo the chocolate Labrador. 

And finally, many thanks to Rebloggy’s “Top Tumblr Posts” for the photo of the German Shepherd MWD with an awesome superpower.

What do you think? An Artdog Image of Interest

As for me, I vote YES. This photo inspired quite a lot of commentary on my Facebook page, so I thought you might find it interesting to see on my blog.

Allow Partner Dog in Hospital Bed?

IMAGE: Many thanks to The German Shepherd Dog Community’s Facebook Page for this Artdog Image of Interest.

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