National K-9 Veterans Day is on March 13, marking the U.S. Army’s K-9 Corps’ official birthday. Since 1942, more than 30,000 dogs have served in the U.S. military under the establishment of the K-9 Corps. Many brave, strong, and wonderful dogs continue to serve our military and law enforcement today. Using their acute senses, these […]
National K-9 Veterans Day is on March 13, marking the U.S. Army’s K-9 Corps’ official birthday. Since 1942, more than 30,000 dogs have served in the U.S. military under the establishment of the K-9 Corps. Many brave, strong, and wonderful dogs continue to serve our military and law enforcement today.
Using their acute senses, these K-9 units often detect explosives, locate weapons, and guard against the entry of illegal substances. Some of these dogs also undergo intense military training that prepares them to serve in war. Their determination and loyalty helps provide citizens with an extra sense of security on a daily basis.
This year, we at Petland are celebrating the lives of some of our nation’s most inspiring K-9 veterans. Here are 5 brave K-9 veterans we will never forget:
Sergeant Stubby remains one of U.S. history’s most famous war dogs. To this day, he is the only pooch to ever receive the rank of sergeant. Stubby started his noble military career after he was found as a stray at a Yale campus in 1917.
Petland Florida picture of German Shepherd K-9 sitting on grass.Petland Florida picture of German Shepherd K-9 sitting on grass. His adoptive owner, Corporal John Robert Conroy developed such a fondness for Stubby that he smuggled him to France during World War I. From then on, Stubby participated in 17 battles, finding missing soldiers in trenches, rounding up German spies, and using his keen sense of smell to alert soldiers of incoming attacks. He also helped boost the spirits of many soldiers, which made him a great wartime buddy.
Stubby returned to the U.S. to become an instant celebrity. He joined in pet parades and was awarded a gold medal. Today, Stubby is highly regarded as a war hero.
Despite her small size, Smoky the Yorkie proved her worth during World War II. She was first discovered by U.S. soldiers after being abandoned in a foxhole in New Guinea. The soldiers thought she belonged to Japanese troops, but they soon realized she couldn’t understand commands in Japanese or English.
For the next two years, Smoky assisted U.S. troops with numerous combat missions by enabling phone wiring communication between outposts and detecting incoming artillery attacks. She also entertained the soldiers in hospitals and Special Services with countless tricks she learned.
After the war was over, Smoky served as a therapy dog in veterans’ hospitals. A bronze statue was later created in her memory in Cleveland, Ohio in 2005. Smoky is also credited with renewing interest to theYorkshire Terrierbreed.
Rags, a terrier, was another well-renowned dog who served under the U.S. 1st Infantry Division during World War II. He was initially found abandoned in Paris by U.S. soldier, Private James Donovan, who then reported Rags as a missing mascot of the division. This courageous little pooch went on to serve this role in World War II, carrying a number of messages between outposts that helped save the lives of countless soldiers.
Rags also had a unique way of alerting his fellow comrades about incoming attacks. Because of his sensitive hearing, the dog would hear incoming shellfire before anyone else and would drop to the ground with his paws spread out. This behavior helped soldiers stay on alert during battle.
Upon his return to the U.S., Rags became a well-known figure in New York City and won several medals and awards for his bravery. A monument was erected in Silver Spring, Maryland in honor of his service.
Nemo was a German Shepherd who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. While Nemo and his handler, Airman Robert Thorneburg were on patrol, their base came under attack from enemy fire. The dog was severely injured in the process but continued to fight back against their attackers. This gave Thorneburg time to call in help, which saved both of their lives.
Nemo also carefully guarded his handler from anyone who came near him. It later took a veterinarian to remove him. After his recovery, Nemo was given a permanent retirement kennel.
Dexter, a German Shepherd, was a Navy veteran that helped save millions of lives in Baghdad. Using his strong sense of smell, Dexter was able to detect a large number of explosives inside a garbage truck. The truck was headed near a mess hall filled with various people. Dexter later became the first military K-9 to receive the American Legion Post 703 membership card as an inducted veteran.
After his time in Iraq, Dexter was rewarded with his favorite treats, a giant bone and steak. He later retired in a K-9 veteran community that provided him with constant care and love.
Whether it’s detecting harmful objects or locating missing soldiers, K-9 veterans always show love and sacrifice in their actions. We at Petland can’t express how grateful we are to have such upstanding, four-legged heroes defending our freedoms. Along with commemorating these special veterans, we also hope this day brings awareness to K-9 veterans and their lives after service.