Since WWII the Dogs of War worked side-by-side with the troops, being on the front lines, acting as early warning systems for the men they grew to love, often taking a bullet as they were seen as a threat by the enemy.
I first became aware of Military Dogs when I was about 10. My Uncle Joey, a Marine Gunnery Sgt. came home from his final tour in Vietnam with an awesome German Shepherd named “Gunny,” who’d saved countless Marines during his service.
Gunny was one of the lucky ones, he was able to come home and live out his life with his best buddy. But every year, and every war since The War to End All Wars, thousands of these working dogs are left behind in the war zones. Considered by the US Government as “equipment.”
Back in 2008-2009, I helped my friend, the late WWII Army Veteran Peter Horbick do research on war dogs for a memorial that he wanted to dedicate in their honor.
I printed hundreds of pages of heartbreaking stories from veterans who’d served in different wars who were forced to leave their dogs behind.
The military actively began using dogs in 1942, when civilians would donate their dogs to be trained for service. Peter and his wife Ellen donated their dog, and after he served in WWII, Ellen got him back, but, like Gunny, not all dogs were as lucky.
The memories of seeing the dogs barking for their comrades as they left haunted Peter for decades and he engraved the War Dog Memorial stone that stands at Bethany’s Veteran’s Park with the Poem, “I Wait By The Gate,” by Connie Chronister. I am proud to say that after some extensive research I located Connie and she attended the dedication ceremony in Bethany — that meant so much to Peter.
Peter would be happy to know that there is now hope for military dogs. in 2007, an Iraq War Veteran named Danny Scheurer was upset with the idea that dogs who’d worked so hard were being abandoned to avoid the costs of transporting them to and sheltering them in the States.
He began the Save-A-Vet program to rescue military & law enforcement working dogs & other service animals from being put down when their service to country & community is done, and to provide housing and relief for disabled veterans who help take care of them.
No Dog Left Behind
HERE is an article about US Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s push to help save military working dogs and to provide them with homes and veterinary care in retirement.
You Can Help
Pet Supplies Plus, 471 Boston Post Road, is donating a percentage from the purchase of certain Natural Balance products to the Save-A-Vet organization this week for Veteran’s Day, in recognition of the dog’s faithful service.
Homeland Security K-9 Ornella’s sharp nose helped protect our border for two years before she developed behavioral problems that forced her retirement. Save-A-Vet rescued her from euthanization to give her a safe and loving home.