Our Heroic Military Working Dogs

This Veterans Day, take the time to remember our canine heroes as well.

Posted in , Nov 10, 2014

Ddoc at the Special Forces Canine monument, Fayetteville, NC. Photo courtesy o

The image is one I can’t get out of my mind–the beautiful Belgian Malinois dog, trembling in a ditch, terrified in the moment of battle.

I was talking to Sgt. Chloe Wells, helping to bring her story to Guideposts. She told me how her adopted military working dog named Ddoc (pronounced “Doc”) had been out on patrol with his handler when powerful mortar fire hit close, sending the dog and soldier flying backwards.

Ddoc at the Special Forces Canine monument, Fayetteville, NC. Photo courtesy of Sgt. Chloe Wells)When the soldier tried to return fire, Ddoc refused to go on and dragged him back to the base, where the stunned dog hid under a bed.

Not only do servicemen and women suffer from the stress of combat, but military dogs do as well. They are often the first line of defense, sniffing out bombs, mines and other explosive devices.

My heart breaks thinking of the fear Ddoc must have faced. Fortunately, Chloe works closely with Ddoc, showing him the kind of love and support he needs to heal–and even help others.

This Veteran’s Day, many military working dogs are being honored along with soldiers.

In the 2014 Veteran’s Day Parade in New York City, six military dogs, each credited with saving the lives of 150-200 servicemen and women, will be featured on a parade float. Celebrities, including American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert will also ride along on the float.

Dr. Ganzert has spearheaded projects to help military dogs and their handlers, along with Mission K9 Rescue and the U.S. War Dog Association.

You can watch the televised broadcast of the parade in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, Orlando, Minneapolis and Phoenix (check your local listings.)

I’m also excited for the premier of the new documentary series on the A&E Network, called Dogs of War, exploring the PTSD many veterans face and the dogs who help them through. The series chronicles several veterans who are matched with shelter dogs that have been trained in rehabilitation.

This arrangement is mutually beneficial, as the A&E website describes how “a veteran condemned to a life of isolation and a dog condemned to a shelter come together and rescue one another.” The series premiers Tuesday, November 11 at 10pm ET/PT, then moves to Sundays at 10pm beginning November 16.

This year, while honoring our veterans, take time as well to remember our canine heroes.

Are there any veterans and/or military animals you’d like to recognize today? Let us know in the comments.

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