In all previous wars we brought home our highly trained military dogs to retire with their handler or to continue to serve EXCEPT for Vietnam. When our military was ordered out of Nam our dogs were tied to camp poles and left to watch the soldiers they loved and protected walk away and not look back. Those dogs were considered to be excess baggage.
What happened to those dogs? Most starved to death - used for target practice by the Viet Cong or skinned alive and eaten by the Viet Cong who considered them to be a delicacy. Rumor has it that those who weren't tied or confined, ran behind the planes leaving with the troops they loved so dearly or waited patiently beneath helicopters for their orders which never came; and then, when they were completely exhausted, went back to their last camp and held vigil, patiently, for their handler to come back. (If you would like to learn more, click on the War Dog graphic. It will take you to a very sobering site.)
This Memorial Day let us remember fallen soldiers who lived, and died, for our country and for the soldier at the other end of the leash.
Dogs do not have the option of enlisting in the military. Yet, after they are chosen and trained, they stand next to their handler willing to give their life - without question. When a war dog locates a bomb, or a large cache of weapons and explosives, or even deters an attack, it isn't considered to be out of the ordinary. It isn’t covered on the news, you won’t see it in the newspapers, and chances are you will never know about it. However, the handlers, know. The Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Seamen who had their lives saved by one of these loyal and highly intelligent canine soldiers know. The war dogs also know they did well and usually receive a special meal at the end of a long day.
This blog entry is dedicated to the military dog teams of our great country. Please say an extra prayer and remember not just the dog teams that have given their lives but all dog teams worldwide who continue to be on the front lines. God bless and keep them all.
Please visit the United States War Dogs K-9 Wall of Honor. You are here because you love dogs. You will leave those pages deeply affected.
A Working Dog
GOD SUMMONED A BEAST FROM THE FIELD...
You shall protect him in the wilderness, shepherd his flocks,
watch over his children, accompany him wherever he may go;
even unto civilization.
God said, I endow you with these instincts uncommon
to other beasts: faithfulness, devotion, and understanding
surpassing those of man himself.
Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to faults of man. Lest it
impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words.
any other beast; or even man with man. Speak to your master only
with your mind and through your honest eyes.
off his enemies, carry his burdens, share his afflictions;
love him and comfort him.
which shall be only food, shelter and affection.
along the way to the land that I have promised him.
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.