Remembering Dogs Who Served
I am quilling this week’s Pet Column on Memorial Day - as people across the Nation remember family, friends and neighbors who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Here at Second Chance we like to remember all the canines who served as well. Since WWI over 100,000 have served, saving countless lives while sacrificing their own.
Military dogs gave life and limb as scout dogs, watch dogs, combat trackers, as well as with explosive detection, mine tunnel dog teams, and alerting on ambushes, snipers and booby traps. They carried medical supplies and sought out dying men on the battlefield and lay beside them to comfort them. And most importantly, according to many who worked in combat with dogs, they served the role as companions and emotional support.
Over the years, their stories have been told in documentaries, in books and in the news, incredible stories of loyalty, sacrifice and bravery. One of the most famous combat dogs was Sergeant Stubby (1916-1926). Stubby, a brindle pup, served with the 102nd Infantry, entering combat on February 5, 1918 at Chemin des Dames and going on to participate in four offensives and 17 battles.
Stubby survived being wounded in the leg and being gassed. He learned to offer a modified salute, lifting his right paw to his right eyebrow. He was made a lifetime member of the American Legion and was awarded a gold medal, presented to him personally by General Pershing.
Some would like to see dogs honored in this way for their efforts more regularly. In fact, a group of veterans who served alongside dogs have attempted to establish canine burial rights at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier but Arlington's eligibility rules prohibit burial of animals. The group did succeed, in October 2013, with the first National Monument dedicated to military dogs which debuted in San Antonio Texas.
The group also tried for years to get the Army to create some official award or certificate to honor the heroics of military dogs but were told it would dishonor or detract from the human honors - so they went ahead and created their own military working dog service award. They have been awarding it to dogs on the request of their handlers, even though the Department of Defense is still opposed.
My name is Quill and, although I have never been a military dog, the staff here at Second Chance refer to me as their “hero”. I am a one year young Shepherd Aussie mix who enjoys slow walks through the park, sunbathing in the yard, and winning people over with my sweet and charming personality. I arrived with a face full of porcupine quills that had been intact for several weeks. Despite that I maintained my calm and easy going demeanor. They have all been removed and I am feeling so much better and ready for my forever home where I will remain loyal and loving for life.
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.