Happy K9 Veterans Day (with the saddest pictures you'll ever see)
Fairly good article about the history of K9 Veterans Day that I found:
A lot of things changed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Oil, leather and rubber were rationed. Men were drafted. Women rolled up their sleeves and built war supplies.And dogs were called to duty. During the first world war, the United States took notice of the European use of canines as sentries, message carriers and several other functions.
Dogs for Defense was a program initiated by a private citizen by the name of Mrs. Alene Erlanger. Along with the American Kennel Club and a handful of breeders, the group aimed to train the dogs for military use.
By November of 1942, the first Dogs for Defense were prepared for duty in North Africa. While at first they were gun shy, they proved to be well trained.
As the war progressed, Dogs for Defense was unable to keep up with the demand and the Remount Branch, Service Installations Divisions took over training of the dogs.
Over the years the military, police and rescue have developed a variety of training methods for K9 units. Their training is tailored to meet the demands of the job and each animal and handler carries out his or her duties to the fullest.
When I was a soldier in Afghanistan I didn't have a wife or kids. I carried two pictures in my wallet, 1 was of the barstool I "lived" at at Murphy's in Old Town Alexandria Virginia, and the other was my mutt, Forrest, who was the light of my life. When I can home, Forrest was sick and the doctors were worried that the trauma of seeing me might kill her, so I spent 2 weeks in a hotal before I went home. I've never cried half as hard as when I saw her. She meant everything to me.
I think that's common with military guys. You don't have to explain your moods to dogs, they just don't care. Good mood, bad mood, all they care is that you are home, and then never want to be apart. Until a few days ago, this was the saddest story I ever heard:
These tear-jerking pictures show the moment an Air Force dog handler cradled his dead cannine partner draped in the US flag.
Sergeant Kyle Smith, from North Carolina, bid an emotional farewell to four-legged companion Bodza after the German Shepherd was put down.A picture showed Kyle's giving his partner a tender hug as the dead dog was draped in the US flag.
Thousands have shared the picture since it emerged on social media.
Kyle said the decision to put down Bodza was one of the hardest he has ever had to make.
Man. I've been that guy. I wanted one last weeken with Forrest as I knew she was dying. It was Thanksgiving and I intended to do all the things she wanted to do. But it wasn't meant to be. She faded quickly and couldn't walk. So I took her in.
I will say this, the vet couldn't have been more kind. She game me time with my little girl, and then she injected her. To my dying day I'll never forgot how she picked up her snoot and gave me a little kiss on the nose, and then she was gone. I sat there sobbing for a few monutes, and then they took her away. I didn't get out of bed for about a week.
To Bodza, thank you for your service. For Kyle, you've been in my prayers. The pain never goes away, but may you find the strength to remember the happy moments. I wish dogs had the life expectancy of people, it's so unbelievably hard to say good bye to an animal you loved with all your heart, and knew that the feeling was recipirocated.