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Posted on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 : 10:55 a.m.

Without sacrifice of military working dogs, authorities' work would be difficult - or impossible

By Lorrie Shaw


Photo by Flickr user ♪_Lisa_♪

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have given so selflessly in their service to our country. Perhaps we don't think enough about the sacrifices that are made because we aren't there to personally see it - more commonly, however, we do see the effects on the loved ones left behind.

There are many who have worked "behind the scenes," so to speak, and lost their lives on missions abroad doing their part in managing the task at hand. For most of us, they remain faceless, nameless and thankless. Typically, a human service member comes to mind when we envision the work, toil and meager conditions that usually accompany deployment. It's not easy by any means.

There is another link in the chain that remains faceless, generally speaking. Since World War I, military working dogs have been used to save countless lives and have also become casualties. During the Vietnam War, the use of military working dogs increased and German Shepherds were usually the breed of choice, along with Labrador Retrievers. Capacities that the dogs (and their handlers) served in were usually as scout dogs, combat tracker teams and mine tunnel dog teams.

Some paid the ultimate price. Read some of those stories here.

Today, many military working dogs train for patrol work and in explosives detection skills. In peacetime, they assist their human counterparts in drug intervention along the United States' southern borders and work as drug detector and explosive detector dogs with the Secret Service. Without the sacrifice of these dogs, some of this work would be much more difficult, or impossible.

Lorrie Shaw is a pet blogger, a regular contributor to and owner of Professional Pet Sitting, and has extensive experience with animals including dogs, amphibians, exotic birds and cats. Contact her via e-mail.


Lorrie Shaw

Tue, Jun 1, 2010 : 10:37 p.m.

Thank you so much! I'm certain that it shows not only the canines' heroism, but the bond that the soldiers and dogs shared. Amazing!


Tue, Jun 1, 2010 : 11:57 a.m.

There was a great documentary on War Dogs of the Pacific on the military channel. The soldiers loved those dogs more than themselves. Those dogs save thousands of U.S. lives.