Did you know that there are over 2,700 military working dogs currently serving?

Dogs are trained at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas. Suitable dogs go through a rigorous 90 days training program which trains the animals in how to recognize and detect the explosive materials used in IEDs, how to attack and take down the enemy when threatened, and how to operate in a war zone where the sounds of battle and unpredictable nature can be very confusing for an untrained dog.

Dogs are selected for the program based on their sense of smell, speed, endurance, courage, intelligence and adaptability to the harsh desert environment.

The top breeds that possess these qualities are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, and the Belgian Malinois. However, other breeds such as Golden Retriever, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Bull Mastiffs, Collies, Briards, and many others have been used successfully.






Interesting Articles About Military Animals

Animals of war at WWII Museum in New Orleans

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press Writer Janet Mcconnaughey, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 19, 12:22 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – Smoky the Yorkshire terrier, Lady Astor the pigeon and a host of horses and mules are among war heroes and heroines featured in the latest exhibit at the National World War II Museum.

"Loyal Forces: The Animals of WWII" will run July 22-Oct. 17, featuring the four kinds of animals most often brought into the war.

"There was a great love and loyalty between the soldiers and the animals they worked with," said registrar Toni M. Kiser, who created the exhibit with archivist Lindsey Barnes.

In the mezzanine, where a Sherman tank and a half-track represent the period's most common cavalry, will be a figure of a Coast Guardsman on shore patrol with his horse. The shore patrols were set up after German saboteurs twice landed on American beaches.

This may seem odd to people used to thinking of the Coast Guard as offshore duty in cutters, patrol boats, helicopters and airplanes.

"Luckily, before they could wreak havoc they were caught," said Kiser. "But there was this great fear that we really had to protect America's coastline."

Nearly 3,000 horses, provided by the Army Quartermaster Corps, let the shore patrol cover much more ground. "The U.S. Coast Guard used more horses than any other branch of the U.S. Military during WWII," the title panel notes.

The first thing visitors will see in the special exhibits gallery is a German reconnaissance horse and soldier, representing the European theater.

Germany's 1st Cavalry Division pursued the Soviet Army through the northern marshes of the Soviet Union, but was disbanded and mechanized in November 1941, largely because horses needed extensive supplies and attention, and Adolf Hitler considered them outmoded.

But most supplies and a great deal of artillery were still horse-drawn, and a mounted infantry squadron patrolled about six miles in front of every German infantry division.

"These mounted patrol troops were referred to as the 'eyes and ears of their units,'" an exhibit panel explains.

The museum's artifacts were part of the reason for including the German horse, Barnes said. "We have a really great saddle" and a dagger from the infamous 8th SS Kavallerie Division Florian Geyer.

North Africa and the Mediterranean are represented by pigeons such as Lady Astor, which brought an urgent message to Allied forces from the front lines in North Africa in spite of pellet fire that broke one leg and took half the feathers from one wing.

An oral history from Hiram Boone, a mule handler for the Army's Mars Task Force, informs the China, Burma and India theater exhibit.

For the Pacific front, there are the dogs.

Smoky, found in a foxhole in New Guinea, was a mascot who became a war heroine when engineers needed to run 70 feet of telegraph wire through an 8-inch culvert under an airfield.

Cpl. William Wynne, who had adopted Smoky and taught her many tricks, tied one end of the wire to Smoky's collar and had his buddies hold Smoky at one end of the culvert while he called her from the other.

Her story is among a half-dozen featured on a touch-screen display, as is that of Kurt, a Doberman Pinscher who alerted his handler to Japanese soldiers lying in wait above the Asan Point beachhead on Guam, but was killed by a mortar shell.

Bronze statues of Smoky in a "pot" helmet and Kurt, lying down but on the alert, also are part of the exhibit. Kurt's statue is a replica of one at the U.S. Marine Corps War Dog Cemetery in Guam.

Sculptor Susan Bahary also put Barnes in touch with the widow of Lt. William Putney, commanding officer of the 3rd U.S. War Dog Platoon, who led 110 Marines and 72 dogs from Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton to Guadalcanal and Guam. His veterinarian's kit, donated to the museum by Betsy Putney, is set up in a display of the sort of field hospital used for dogs.

"A lot of stuff they had was the same as for humans," Kiser said. "It took a while for the Army to get around to having special supplies for dogs."

There's also a mascot slideshow and a narrated "slideshow movie" about servicemen's encounters with exotic animals — playing with monkeys, riding on elephants and camels. One photo, from the Pacific, shows eight men holding the skin of a python. "The expressions on their faces are pretty telling — how foreign and exciting this was," Barnes said.

They had to omit some stories, such as that of the bear that carried artillery ammunition during the battle of Monte Cassino in Italy (it had been enlisted into the Polish Army because the soldiers weren't allowed to have mascots).

"We really wanted to concentrate on the animals that were used by the thousands to help the military," Kiser said.


If You Go...

NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM: 945 Magazine St., New Orleans; or 504-528-1944. Open daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults, $18; children 5-12 $9. "Loyal Forces: The Animals of WWII" runs July 22-Oct. 17.



An Awareness Note From Jeanie

My youngest daughter, Lisa, was in the Army for almost 5 years serving as a veterinary technician taking care of our nation’s Military Working Dogs.  Lisa is now working with Congressman Jones of North Carolina on legislation to re-classify our Military Working Dogs from ‘equipment’ to K-9 member of the Armed Forces while serving and K-9 Veteran upon retirement.  They will have no benefits upon retirement, just the title of K-9 Veteran.  Other issues addressed in this bill are final transportation when they leave service, recognition of service, and financial help with medical bills once retired.  There is no tax payer money used for the transportation or payment of medical bills.  Transportation will be via donated frequent flyer miles and money for medical bills will be from donations through 501(c)(3) organizations.


I’ve attached a PDF copy of the most recent draft of the bill for your review. [note: letter copied and pasted below]


Please take a moment to sign the petition at to show your support of Congressman Jones’ bill at:


In addition, if you contact your 2 U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressman directly to ask for their support, it would be greatly appreciated.  Click on the links below to find your U.S. Representative & 2 U.S. Senators.  On their page click on ‘contact’ and then copy and paste the attached letter into their email form.  Please feel free to personalize the letter, especially if you know Lisa.


US Senate =

US Representatives =


If you are in CT’s 1st Congressional District, contact Congressman Larson and let him know that you want him to sign on as co-introducer, with Congressman Jones of N.C., to Lisa’s bill to re-classify our Military Working Dogs.  Here is Congressman Larson’s contact link:


As the ‘grand-mother’ of 2 of our nation’s retired Military Working Dogs who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge , I appreciate your support for this most worthy cause.






Subject: Military Working Dogs

I am writing to you on behalf of the Facebook page entitled “Help Get Military Working Dogs Medical Benefits.” I was unaware this was even an issue. I guess I never really thought about military working dogs and what happened to them after their time was served. I wasn’t uninformed because I didn’t care. I just assumed they were taken care of for the duration of their life. I am sure many people make the same assumption every day. The truth is that these dogs are not being taken care of in the manner they deserve. They risk their lives every day in war zones just the same as our honorable men and women in the military.

The woman who has initiated this effort is a former veterinary technician for the United States Army. She is making it her life’s mission to reclassify military working dogs from “equipment” to “K-9 member of the Armed Forces”, to provide for final transportation, and help financially with medical benefits after they have been discharged from serving our country.

I urge you to visit the “Help Get Military Working Dogs Medical Benefits” Facebook page at and educate yourself about these wonderful assets to our country. I don’t mean to say you don’t know about these dogs and their plight, perhaps you do, but when you see with your own eyes what is going on, then I know you will feel the same urge to do something to change the situation.

“The capability they (Military Working Dogs) bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine. By all measures of performance their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory. Our Army (and military) would be remiss if we failed to invest more in this incredibly valuable resource." General David H. Petraeus (Retired) , February 9, 2008.

I ask you to please do what you can to help take care of these dogs by supporting a bill drafted by Congressman Jones of North Carolina. This bill does not use tax payer money. Funding is through 501(c)(3) organizations. Our Military Working Dogs have given so much for our country, don’t you agree it’s time to do something for them.

Thank you so much for your time and concern.


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