Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day - Thanking and Honoring All K-9 Veterans and Their Partners

Harley pays homage to K-9 veterans.

The Soldier Dog  
by Joe Ferra 

I was trained to use my eyes to watch 
and protect you from harm.
My ears to alert you 
of impending danger like an alarm.
My keen sense of smell 
to detect an enemy close at bay.
Yes I was a soldier who gave my life 
so you could fight another day.
So remember me as time goes by
This soldier dog so true.
For I had only one life to give 
and I gave that life to you.

Today is Veterans Day. On this date, 11-11-11, at the 11th hour...let's all pause for a moment to reflect upon the services and sacrifices our veterans - both human and canine - give, and have given in the past, so we all can have the everyday freedoms we all so enjoy. We thank you.

Canine soldiers hold an important role in our history. According to the U.S. War Dogs Association “Military Working Dogs have been used by the U.S. Military since World War I. American families donated their dogs to the military to aid our troops during wartime. Dogs, along with their volunteer handlers, trained in teams as scouts, trackers, sentry, mine/booby-trap/tunnel and water detection of hostile forces. Dogs were used in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It has been estimated that these courageous canine heroes saved over 10,000 lives during the conflict in Vietnam.” War Dogs explains that, “Today all branches of our Armed Forces are utilizing Military Patrol Dogs specializing in Drug and Bomb/Explosive detection. There are approximately 600-700 of these canines in the Middle East in such places as Kuwait, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They are being used to patrol Air Bases, Military Compounds, Ammunition Depots and Military Check Points. They are guarding and protecting our Military Personnel as they were trained to do, with Courage, Loyalty and Honor.”

"Buck" the Siberian Husky, the late War Dogs Ambassador.
There were many different breeds of canines that served as war dogs, including the Siberian Husky.
According to the United States War Dog Association, when the attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941, the United States military working dogs included 90 Siberian Huskies and Malamutes. "These dogs were used as pack and sled dogs for rescue in areas of the world where motorized equipment could not go." --Our War Dogs, Buck's Heroes 

Each year I like to pay tribute "Buck," pictured here. He was the United States War Dogs Ambassador, and he was a beautiful bi-eyed Siberian Husky born in 1991 and crossed the Rainbow Bridge in 2006. He is also the main character in the book, Buck's Heroes, which is beautifully illustrated, Buck accompanies his master, Vietnam veteran and dog handler Johnny Mayo, to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. where Buck begins seeing the ghosts of the K-9 soldiers who share their war stories with him. Even though I've discussed this book before in earlier posts, I think it is fitting to mention it again on Veterans Day. 

To all the K-9 soldiers and veterans: You have not been forgotten. You deserve an extra pat and hug for all the hard work, loyalty, and fearless dedication you've shown in the war zones, out in the field, and with your handlers. You are all amazing dogs.

Today is also the perfect time to visit the Save-a-Vet site who does wonderful work with the canine veterans. Be sure to watch their news video clip too. The Save-A-Vet Mission states: "There are thousands of dogs being used by the military and law enforcement today. Unfortunately when they are injured or retired, many of them are unable to find suitable homes to live out their days in peace. Due to their training, a majority of these dogs cannot be adopted out by regular families. We’re here to provide a comfortable home for these forgotten soldiers. Save-A-Vet is a 501(c)(3) organization, set up to provide a comfortable atmosphere in which these Forgotten Soldiers can live out the remainder of there life. In addition, our goals once at 100% strength, is to provide disabled, injured and retired military and law enforcement veterans, housing and employment to help us care for these Forgotten Soldiers." Please stop by and visit and see how you, too, can help our two- and four-legged veterans through this program.

My Dad and two furpals, WWII.
This blog is dedicated to my late father, a great animal lover and a TSGT with the United States Army "Big Red One" - the First Division, and later with the Rainbow Division for his second tour during World War II. Pictured here, he is on base with two of his canine companions. 

To all of our human and K-9 veterans, we thank you for your service and dedication. To our human and K-9 soldiers currently serving, we wholeheartedly thank you for the work you are doing, and please, be careful out there.


  1. We discovered the War Dogs site a few years ago - its fascinating stuff to read! Thanks for a wonderful post! Today we remember & thank all who serve, 2-footeds & 4-footeds.

    jack & moo

  2. An awesome post....thanks for the great detail...I didn't have the time today to post much, so this is wonderful! :)

  3. hey FiveSibes,

    Wonderful post! You mom's dad is a handsome man, and many thanks to him for serving his Country. My human's family also has many generations who served in the Military, so we give many thanks to all the Veterans who have served.

    Love seeing Buck and his book! My human needs to buy me his book. I think Military pups are the unsung heroes, and I salute them! So brave!
    And the is amazing.

    I think the best gift we could give to the Veterans, both human and animal, is to end all wars. Peace.


  4. Beautiful post! We loved hearing about Brave Buck and all the other Veteran pups who've done so much for our country. Happy Veteran's Day!

    Teddy Bear & Sierra

  5. You know what? I snuck out momma's credit card and I am going to donate to those war dogs right now. They are so brave and I want them to have good retirements. Thank you dogs and humans so much for your contribution to our country.


  6. Beautiful tribute - a wonderful post!
    Play bows,

  7. Hi Y'all,

    That was a beautiful tribute.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. What an awesome post, and what a great pic of your dad, too! :)

    Woofs & hugs, <3

    ~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

  9. What a fabulous tribute!

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  10. You said it perfectly. I wish that no one, not human nor dog, ever had to go to war. But, when it's necessary, I thank them for their sacrifices.

    And, thank you to your late father.

  11. What a great post. :) We watched this show on 11/11 called the Hero Dog Awards, it was really cool on the Hallmark Channel.