March 13 - National K9 Veterans Day

Posted on March 13, 2020

I try to thank every active member of the military and every veteran for their service. But I never thought about THESE veterans:

On this date in 1942, the U.S. Army began a new War Dog Program called the K9 Corps. For the first time, dogs were officially a part of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Of course, dogs have been buddies and helpers of soldiers forever - but when the arrangement is official, there is more assurance of good treatment, of adequate training, of acknowledgment of their contributions, and of honors.

Now military dogs have their own retirement ceremonies, awards, medals, and memorial services! So of course we need a Veterans Day particular to them. 

If you are wondering why dogs are a part of the military, wonder no more:

Dogs have superhuman olfactory abilities (in other words, they smell things way way way better than humans), with 10 to 20 times the number of receptors in their noses and a much larger part of the brain dedicated to smell. That means that they can track people or animals far better, and they can detect intruders up to 200 meters away - or even 1,000 meters away if aided by wind! They can detect explosives or narcotics using their super noses, and they can be used in search and rescue operations.

Also, dogs can get into and out of places an adult human can't. And when trained, they can travel silently and can take advantage of natural cover. For these reasons they are used as messenger dogs and tunnel dogs (used to detect and explore tunnels).

Yikes! Military dogs get high marks for courage and loyalty!

This working dog monument is in San Antonio, Texas.

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