Dogs are an invaluable member of communities all over the world. From peacetime keeping at home to helping on the front lines of the battlefield during war, they provide for us in ways that people and technology cannot. Today, we recognize and honor the love and sacrifice dogs have given throughout history.
Celebrating K-9 Veterans Day
On March 13th, 1942, the US Army began training dogs for a newly launched “War Dog Program”, also known as the “K-9 Corps.” Since then, March 13th has been celebrated every year as K-9 Veterans Day.
Much like Veterans Day for people, K-9 Veterans Day honors the sacrifice that dogs have made for our country, not just on the battlefield, but at home in our communities for services such as the police and border security.
K-9 Veterans Day is made possible by American Humane, the country’s first animal welfare and safety organization that has supported the US Military and its human and K-9 soldiers for more than 100 years.
Through the American Humane Lois Pope LIFE center for Military Affairs, internationally renowned philanthropist and veterans’ advocate, Lois Pope, supports two-legged and four-legged heroes. The center provides resources to:
- Reunite retired military dogs with former handlers
- Match veterans struggling with PTSD with life saving service dogs
- Arrange free medical care for retired veteran dogs
- Help drive legislation for military dogs and their human counterparts
Famous K-9 Veteran Dog Heroes
We could go on and on about the great work that organizations like American Humane are doing! Instead, in honor of K-9 Veterans Day, we wanted to share a few stories of some of the most famous K-9 Veteran dogs with you. We hope you are able take a moment today to remember and appreciate all our heroic and brave four-legged friends and patriots.
Sergeant Stubby - The Original War Dog
Sgt. Stubby was officially honored on July 6th, 1921 by the Heroes of the 102nd Infantry of the American Expeditionary Forces, who fought in France during the Great War (WWI). Sgt. Stubby is the first dog to be given rank in the American Army with a wound stripe, 3 services stripes and a solid gold medal for bravery. He provided service by comforting soldiers in the battlefield and sniffing out gas bombs.
Chips - The Most Decorated Dog in WWII
Chips was awarded The Dickin Medal for actions, a prestigious award for animal bravery. He served on the battlefield and single handedly attacked a hidden gun nest that was pinning down allied troops during the 1943 Invasion of Sicily.
Lex - Retired with His Fallen Owners Family
After his handler had been killed on the battlefield in Iraq, Lex stuck so closely to his side that medics had to physically remove him from the scene so that they could provide medical support. After two tours through Iraq, Lex was honorably discharged by the United States Marine Corps so that he could live out his days with his Sergeant’s family.
Cairo - Seal Team 6
Cairo is the Navy SEAL dog that was part of Seal Team 6 - the team that killed Osama Bin Laden on May 2nd, 2011. Cairo was part of the Parameter Security team and helped to detect bombs, search out concealed enemies, and find secret doors and passageways into Bin Laden’s compound.