Updated: Oct 10, 2020
Seeing as you are reading this, chances are you probably are in the military, have a parent or family member in the military, or support the military in some manner. You're probably aware of everything the people in the military put into their jobs; all the effort, perseverance, and service. It’s wonderful to recognize all the people serving in the military, but what about all the animals?!
For many years animals have been used to aid in military endeavors. In fact, the “first recorded use of camels in war is in 853 B.C., when the Arab king Gindibu fielded 1,000 camels in an allied army united against the Assyrians at the Battle of Qarqar, in modern-day Syria” according to an article posted on LiveScience.com. Throughout history, animals such as dogs, mules, horses, elephants, mules, deer, and pidgins have been used in the military. In modern times with our modern transportation and technology, the military no longer needs carrier pigeons to send a message during battle or horses to carry supplies around. However, dogs are still used in the military to this day.
The Civil War was the earliest where dogs were used in the U.S. military. These dogs had many jobs such as carrying supplies, finding injured soldiers, and carrying messages. Even though dogs had been used during warfare for many years prior, the K-9 unit we know today was not established until WWII. Today, there are about 1,500 working military dogs. Most often German and Dutch Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are used in the military due to their preferable traits. These dogs are trained to track down people, detect bombs, fight, and participate in search and rescue missions. These dogs go through extensive training which takes about three months and costs around $42,000. But it’s worth it, considering a military dog is estimated to save up to 200 soldiers during its time in the field.
Dogs in the military are treated with respect for what they do during their time in the military. While in the military they have a purpose and a home; but those dogs age and get hurt, and eventually, they will have to retire. 90% of military working dogs end up with their handlers once retired, but some of the dogs have nowhere to go once their time comes to leave the service. That’s why I implore you to look into adopting such dogs if you are ever seeking out a furry friend. For more information on how to adopt a retired service dog and some commonly asked questions about what it’s like to adopt these dogs visit https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/dog-adoption/military-dog-adoption/. To contact an MWD kennel near you, visit https://vspa.com/k9/adoption-program2.htm.