Military Dogs: A Beautiful Companionship
The service dogs in the military are just as committed to serving their country as the men and women of the Armed Forces are. The military has utilized dogs to help fight the enemy since World War I.
Dogs have evolved to become veterans themselves and they play a distinct role in the lives of American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. A variety of breeds are used as military dogs such as German Shepherds and Labradors.
The Role of Military Dogs
Military dogs receive their training at Lackland Air Force base. These dogs are trained in detection and patrol and they’re utilized to detect explosives and drugs. There are also specialized dogs that are used off leash to detect IEDs in war zones. They can also be used in combat zones to track human scent whether it be a friend or a foe.
Each dog also has a handler. The handler is responsible for the training and well-being of the dog. They receive extensive training prior to being introduced to their dog. A green dog is never placed with a green handler.
Military Dogs in Action
Dogs are often used as a less-than-lethal option on the battlefield and they’ll provide early warnings for potential hazards. Many times this can save the lives of military personnel and civilians. The handler and the dog are an effective team that work together. These dogs become the soldier’s best friend and are extremely faithful.
Most recently, the dogs have played important roles in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. They’ve been used in rescue efforts and in advanced detection scenarios which has prevented potential harm. At times they must be aggressive but they’ll be friendly to both military and civilian personnel.
Just like the men and women of the Armed Forces, these dogs will make sacrifices that may end up taking their own lives. If lost in combat, military service dogs are shown the same honors as a member of the military.
A Beautiful Companionship
Companionship for injured and wounded military personnel is another way service dogs are used. I’m here at Walter Reed and I see the ways the service dogs are helping them. I’ve witnessed some of members that suffer from PTSD, and their become lifelong companions that are irreplaceable.
There are many wounded military personnel here that have very little family so their dogs become more than family to them. They become crucial parts of their lives and they help their handler do many tasks such as:
- Help blind personnel walk or pull a wheelchair
- Detect seizures
- Calm a person down who experiences anxiety or PTSD
- Remind a person to take prescribed medications
- They can also alert a diabetic when their blood sugar is high or low
It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the battlefield or in the barracks, military dogs play an important role to the members they serve with. They save lives in many different ways and they are priceless in many different ways.