Dogs have, for hundreds of years, served on the battlefield with their human companions. Their courage and bravery on the battlefield in protecting their masters are unlike any.
The battlefields of today are very different from those of the past, but dogs continue to protect and serve in the most amazing ways possible.
Though our soldiers are brave and deserve the country’s love and respect, they are not always recognized for their acts of bravery but, our military service dogs are recognized even less for their efforts on the battlefield.
The American Humane, a 140-year-old non-profit organization whose mission it is to protect the safety, welfare, and well-being of all animals, works diligently to make sure the message about our four-legged heroes hits the mainstream as well as advocates for the health and well-being of dogs deployed to war.
The American Human’s K-9 honor program operates under the aegis of the Lois Pope LIFE Center for Military Affairs and honors our service dogs with military distinction for their acts of bravery. On October 12, 2017, five military service dogs received the honor on Capitol Hill with high ranking officials from the US Army Marines, hill staff, and media personnel.
Four of the dogs were honored with their current handlers while the fifth dog was honored posthumously. Each dog deployed on foreign soil and spent many years in service as military working dogs. Thanks to new laws that protect military service dogs, each dog was able to return home to the United States after deployment, and in some cases, with their bonded handlers.
This is not always the case though, and some of the dogs returned home to continue their services, like Alphie. Alphie was trained as an Explosive Detection Dog and after his two tours of services in Afghanistan extends his service to the country as a bomb-sniffing dog with TSA.
Other dogs, such as Ranger, are adopted into new homes as retired service dogs. Ranger served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as an explosive-detection dog but unfortunately suffered a heat stroke in 2012 and was retired from service. Ranger, though is now suffering from cancer and undergoing treatments, lives with a retired police sergeant and his wife in North Carolina and despite his illness and retirement, still diligently checks every vehicle that pulls up the driveway.