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It's A Dog's Life - YOUR Dog's! Newsletter
May 15, 2012

Save your dog's life with dog first aid!

Whether you're new to dog ownership, or a long-time friend; have a puppy, or care for a senior dog; own a purebred, or a cross from the rescue center; regardless of your situation, your dog is precious to you.

You want only the best for your dog, just like you want the best for every member of your family. This newsletter has the Dog Information and resources you need to give your dog the best -- the best of health, the best of safety, the best of lifelong well being.

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Table of Contents

The Dogs of War

With May upon us, the month in which the European Theater of WWII ended, it seems fitting to devote a full article to the unsung heroes of the second Great War: the dogs of war.

Dogs have been used in war for centuries, with records of dog soldiers as early as 600BC, when trained dogs were sent into battle along with troops. The trend of using canines as soldiers continued until the late 1700's where Napoleon famously sent huge squadrons of fighting dogs into battle ahead of his soldiers. One or two of these armored dogs could pull a man off his horse, where the trainer would be waiting to kill him.

Since the Civil War in the United States, dogs have been used for wholly different purposes. Rather than being sent in to their deaths they began being used as messenger dogs, delivering orders and messages across dangerous territories. Their loyal nature and speed made them perfect for this task. As the times went on, they were also used to carry medical supplies, ammo, and even machine guns between squadrons.

The very first dog-training schools for Seeing Eye Dogs were established during World War I in Germany, in order to help improve the mobility of war veterans whose eyesight's were lost in battle. In 1929, the United States founded a similar Training Seeing Eye Dogs school in Nashville, Tennessee, known as The Seeing Eye, which was moved to Morristown in New Jersey about two years later.

In WWII, dogs were used nearly every day, as guards, messengers, supply carriers, and even mascots. In fact, nearly every major battleship had a dog mascot that would visit fighter pilots for a morale boost before they took off. They were widely used in the Pacific while the soldiers were “island hopping,” taking each island from the Japanese one by one. Although many dogs tragically died side by side with their human brothers in arms, many of them made it out, and more than a few were responsible for saving the lives of human soldiers. Dogs in WWII were commonly given the same medical preference as humans when it came to treating wounds; they were a valuable part of the fighting force.

A lot of the dogs that were sent to aid the marines in WWII were normal house pets that were donated to the cause. They were then trained and sent overseas. The actual number of dogs that went to war between 1942 and 1945 isn't known, but it's estimated to be over 10,000, while 19,000 were actually donated or drafted.

There were over 500 dogs that returned from WWII in May 1945, and nearly all of them were able to be retrained to lead “civilian” lives. Without the aid provided by these famous dogs of war, thousands more soldiers would have died. They are heroes in every sense of the word.

Since WWII dogs have been used even more extensively. There were over 5,000 dogs deployed in Vietnam, and U.S. Army records state that they were responsible for saving the lives of more than 10,000 soldiers and civilians.

These days, K-9 units are in widespread use, and a Belgian Shepherd called Cairo was used in the operation to take down Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Remember the dogs of war this May.

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