At Fur Services Fur Pets we are grateful to all the individuals who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. Our deepest gratitude goes to all the heroes who serve our country, whether it’s on two legs or four. It is believed that dogs have been used in war since at least 600 B.C. Military Working Dogs (MWDs) have faithfully served alongside their human comrades in the U.S. military since the Civil War.
Throughout the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, dogs have worked tirelessly to find bombs and drugs, finding lost individuals in search and rescue, and as a force multiplier targeting enemy combatants. Therapy dogs were brought into Iraq in 2007 to help soldiers cope with the emotional toll of warfare. There are currently 11,000 dogs serving in the military. We would like to take the time to honor some of the brave canines who have served.
Canine Stubby was a mixed breed who served during World War I. He was attached to the 26th Infantry Division that went to France in 1917. Stubby worked shoulder to shoulder with the doughboys for eighteen months. His primary role was boosting morale for the soldiers. Though he was far more than a mascot. Stubby once warned his fellow soldiers of an impending gas attack and alerted Allied troops of a German infiltrator. He was awarded the rank of sergeant for his courageous efforts. Stubby was honored to meet with three different presidents. After retiring from the military, he worked as a sidekick for the Georgetown Hoyas football team. He passed away in 1926 and his remains are held at the Smithsonian Institute.
Then there was Canine Chips, a German Shepherd, Collie, and Husky mix who served during World War Two. He was the most decorated dog of the entire war. Inspired by the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Wren family of Pleasantville, New York donated him to the U.S. Army. In 1943, Chips stormed an Italian machine gun nest forcing four enemy soldiers into the open where they were captured. The very same day he assisted with the capture of ten others. During battle Chips suffered a wound to the head and minor burns. His bravery earned Chips the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star as well as the Purple Heart. Chips lived out his days comfortably in the home of the Wren family.
The most recent military legend on four paws was Canine Cairo. A Belgian Malinois, Cairo was instrumental in the capture of Osama bin Laden. He jumped out of a helicopter alongside Navy SEALS in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Cairo and the SEALS stormed into the bin Laden compound on May 02, 2011. Later he helped to secure the perimeter during the tense moments before returning to the United States. After the successful operation, Cairo traveled to the White House where they were honored by President Barack Obama.
Sadly, many Military Working Dogs have made the ultimate sacrifice. Canine Kaiser was a German Shepherd that served with his handler Marine Lance Corporal Alfredo Salazar. Salazar and Kaiser joined “D” Company, First Marines, 3rd. Marine Division. Together the pair worked in over a dozen major operations and thirty patrols. On their last patrol together, they were pushing through heavy brush toward a village. As they moved forward, the area erupted in automatic gun fire and grenade explosions. Kaiser received a mortal bullet wound. Salazar knelt by his companion. Kaiser gave Salazar one last lick and then passed away.
Labrador Canine Cooper served as a bomb-sniffing specialist with his handler Corporal Kory Wiens in the Iraq War. In 2007, they were working a patrol when they triggered an improvised explosive device. They were killed upon impact. Both Cooper and Wiens’ ashes are buried in their hometown of Dallas, Oregon.
We are so grateful to all the soldiers, human and canine, who work to protect our nation. We hope you will join us in recognizing their sacrifice this Memorial Day and remember K9 Veterans day is March 19th. If you would like to pay your respects, a Military Working Dog Teams National Monument stands at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, TX. There is also the United States War Dogs Memorial, located guarding the gateway to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Holmdel, New Jersey.
Brandon is an education student at Texas A&M University Texarkana and future English teacher. He has a Golden Retriever named Ivy and a cat named Bella.