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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

Military Dogs

By: Christi J. Felice

I don't have a specific pet story to share but a subject that I feel deserves attention and discussion.

Within the last couple of weeks, the Discovery channel aired a documentary on the roles that dogs have played in the military. In the program, soldiers described the relationships they had with their scout dogs. The stories detailed a life and death loyalty between soldier and dog. The dogs warned their handlers of deadly situations and placed themselves in the line of fire to protect soldiers.

The disturbing issue this program mentioned was that after military engagement, most of the dogs were left behind to die. The military used them and then abandoned them, citing the issue of possible disease as reason for labeling them "equipment" to be abandoned. Has disease ever been used as an excuse to leave a soldier behind? Soldiers receive vaccinations and medical clearance. The dogs receive a death sentence.

Many soldiers have been able to come home because dogs took bullets and mines for them. Dogs are not just household companions protecting our family. They have also served this country in ways that most people don't know.

The Discovery program noted that although dogs have played a vital role in our military campaigns, unlike other war heroes, they are not even recognized and don't have their own memorial. After being informed of this point, I thought it would be nice to raise awareness of how the military uses animals.

If anyone knows of any group that is sponsoring a memorial to our canine warriors and their contributions, I would be interested. (Please post any information regarding this on the encounterboard under "Activists".)

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