A time to commend the courage of all dogs who serve and protect, March 13th is K9 Veterans Day.
Established by the late military dog handler Joe White, the pet holiday is a show of dogged devotion to our four-legged heroes not only in the armed forces, but also law enforcement, police, customs, and search and rescue. The date honors the launch of the US Army K-9 Corps program in 1942 and the memory of the brave Belgian Sheep Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Eskimo dogs, Collies, German Shepherds and Malamutes who trained to become messengers, sentries and scouts during the second World War.
Although acknowledged in several states, K9 Veterans Day is still not nationally recognized. Animal lovers who wish to show their appreciation for the contributions made by pooches past and present who have served their country are invited to sign an online petition to have March 13th officially proclaimed National K9 Veterans Day. For more information, visit the National K9 Veterans Day page at www.kcfadogs.org.
HONORING MILITARY WORKING DOGS
There are several ways to honor the efforts of military working dogs, such as making a donation to a non-profit that helps to provide life-saving equipment for the four-legged soldiers or tends to the needs of retired MWDs.
- Kelvar for K9s provides life-saving bulletproof vets for valiant four-legged heroes who find themselves in the line of fire as a military working dog, law enforcement or search and rescue dog.
- Project Paws Alive raises funds in order to donate K-9 Ballistic vests, K-9 cooling vests, K-9 vehicle heat alarms, K-9 first aid field trauma kits, pet oxygen recovery mask kits and SAR K-9 protective boots for the use of U.S. law enforcement dogs, fire dogs, search and rescue dogs and military K-9 units.
FINDING FAMILIES FOR RETIRED MWDS
Dog devotees can salute the heroism of military working dogs by opening their heart and home to a courageous canine veteran:
- Mission K9 Rescue — a Houston, Texas-based non-profit which reunites handlers who want to adopt their four-legged friend, finds homes for MWD and CWDs without handlers, and helps the heroic dogs heal both both body and soul from their days on duty.
- The Warrior Dog Foundation — Founded by a former Navy SEAL, the non-profit offers a new lease on life to retired MWDs either at the organization’s state-of-the-art kennel facility or in a forever home.
MILITARY WORKING DOG TEAMS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Animal lovers can also show their gratitude to the loyal dogs who have played a vital role in making the world a safer place by paying a visit to the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument. Standing proudly at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas since its dedication in October 2013, the bronze sculptures depict a Belgian Malinois, a Doberman Pinscher, a German Shepherd and a Labrador Retriever diligently standing guard alongside a Military Working Dog Handler.