By Abe Lerner
Paying Tribute to America’s Military War Dogs on Memorial Day
Memorial Day began as any other day did for Ryan Finnegan and his dog Freddie, with an early morning brisk walk in the local park. Two years earlier, Ryan was diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition that can lead to sudden seizures. He was advised to purchase a seizure response dog (SRD.) An immediate bond developed between the two.
Exiting the park, they crossed the street heading home. Freddie began to bark incessantly. Something was wrong. “Am I having a seizure?” Ryan thought. Before long, he blacked out. When he came to, he was lying in a hospital bed. Apparently, Freddie had sensed the imminent seizure, alerting Ryan prior to his succumbing to it and dragged his limp body off the busy street, out of harm’s way. He then proceeded to activate the emergency response system pendant on Ryan’s neck.
While recuperating in the hospital, Ryan thought a lot about Freddie’s heroism that had saved his life. Ryan wondered if Freddie’s actions were a unique phenomenon or perhaps there were others amongst his canine brethren that had risen to the occasion as well. Browsing online about the day’s events, he learned that dogs played a pivotal role in the annals of our military history.
A time of reflection, Memorial Day evokes memories of our fallen brave soldiers, who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Many visit military cemeteries annually on this solemn day, paying tribute to those who gave their lives to protect their fellow Americans and the freedoms that they represent. While our servicemen from the various branches of the military capture most of the attention, it should be noted however, that dogs served our country honorably as well.
Military war dogs (MWD) saw their initial battlefield action in 1942, accompanying the Quartermaster Corps in North Africa. Many served as “guards”, scouts, and attackers. They often provided comfort and strength for their human companions. Throughout the years they have remained permanent fixtures amongst the rank and file, as many combat missions include MWD participation.
A Dogtime.com article shares the rich history of our military war dogs. Some of the more famous dogs include Stubby, who used his keen senses to forewarn his fellow soldiers of impending poison-gas attacks during WWI. Chips assaulted an Italian machine-gun nest during WWII, assisting in taking 10 enemy soldiers captive. Nemo attacked the enemy during the Vietnam War, despite taking a bullet to his eye. When his handler was felled by a bullet and lay unconscious on the ground, Nemo draped his body over him, shielding him from further harm.
As a tribute to our dogs who have contributed so much to our country, the United States War Dogs Memorial was dedicated in 2006 in Holmdel, New Jersey. The memorial consists of a bronze statue of a kneeling Vietnam War soldier and his dog, set on a black granite base, a very touching memorial for man’s best friend.
As Memorial Day is designed to commemorate our nation’s heroes, let’s not forget the dogs who served so patriotically as well! Every dog has its day…
Abe Lerner is a member of the pack at NutralifePet, a division of Nutralife Health Products, Inc., which has been selling high quality dietary supplements since 1996. NutralifePet, the manufacturer of Ultra Joint & Liver Support with SAM-e for dogs and cats, caters to the individual needs of each pet. NutralifePet…caring about animals, one pet at a time…