Bringing Home Our Military Working Dogs
Originally, "Veterans Day" was called "Armistice Day" because it marked the end of hostilities of World War I that occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. That is why the day is always recognized on November 11th, regardless of the day of the week the 11th falls on.
In 1938, Armistice Day was made a legal federal holiday for all.
However, after World War II and the Korean War, Congress recognized a need to expand the meaning of "Armistice Day" to recognize all of our Veterans and not just those of World War I.
In 1954, the word "Armistice" was replaced with "Veterans" as a way to formally include all Veterans of all American wars in the day of remembrance.
Alongside our human veterans, we should recognize the amazing Military Working Dogs that play a critical role in our nation's defense and are crucial to the safety of our service members. The military estimates that on average each animal saves between 150-200 lives during his or her career.
Unfortunately, it may still come as a shock that it’s not uncommon for military working dogs to be left behind for adoption in the country where their service ends. Handlers and veterans who wish to reunite with their dogs generally have to cover the costs of bringing them back to the United States.
In an effort to improve life after the military for working dogs, The Military Working Dog Retirement Act of 2015 was created by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore in Jun 2015. The Military Working Dog Retirement Act would require the Department of Defense to arrange and pay for transportation of trained military dogs to the United States when their service abroad has been deemed no longer necessary, including because of injury.
“Military working dogs have put their lives on the line for our military and deserve to be transported back to the U.S. to be reunited with their handlers,” Michelle Nelson, founder of PAVE and a certified professional dog trainer, said. “It is high time to acknowledge and honor the work these dogs do for and with our military.”
The good news is that the Senate included the provision by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore, as part of a larger defense bill that passed on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015! The provision to ensure retired military dogs can return to the U.S. after serving America overseas was included in a larger defense policy bill, which is now headed to the president’s desk. That's great news!
We think Military Dogs are just as important as their human counterparts. Comment if you agree!