Canine Companion: Remembering Those Who Serve Side By Side

Hey, guys. This week, on Wednesday, was K9 Veterans Day. K9 Veterans Day is a day to remember and appreciate the dogs who serve side-by-side with our soldiers to protect our country.

K9 Veterans Day is an extremely special day and, as such, there are several stories I would like to share with you this week about heroic dogs. Keep in mind, these are just a few stories out of hundreds you can read about.

The stories I will share this week are the ones which struck me the most. And, if I had more space, I could go on and on about all of these loyal, loving, intelligent angels.

Chips from WWII

Chips was the most decorated dog from World War II. He was a Collie-German Shepherd- Siberian Husky mix. That’s quite the mixture, right? He traveled and fought side-by-side us in German, France, North Africa, and Sicily. He was so incredible he was awarded the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Service Cross, and Silver Star for his actions in the war.

Nemo from Vietnam

In 1966, Nemo (German Shepherd) and his handler were on patrol at a cemetery near an airbase in Vietnam. Suddenly, they were under attack. Nemo took a round to his eye, and his handler took a round to his shoulder. Nemo continued to attack the enemies until help arrived.

By this point, his handler was unconscious, so Nemo crawled on top of his body to prevent him from being injured further. Such an incredible bond.

Stubby the Pit

Often claimed the most famous war dog, Stubby was the first dog to be given the rank of sergeant. This American Pit Bull Terrier was found as a stray on the Yale campus in 1917. He was smuggled into France by his adoptive owner and made a huge impact.

Stubby participated in 17 battles, 4 offenses, and was also shown to improve troop morale. He warned units of poison-gas attacks, located downed soldiers, and also warned against any oncoming artillery fire.

Judy the English Pointer

Judy was aboard a navel ship with her fellow soldiers when it was bombed in 1942. Following the bombing, Judy helped soldiers who were unable to swim get to safety by carrying their bodies one by one to shore.

The surviving soldiers, once on the island, began to search for food and water. Judy led them to a freshwater spring. They continued hiking in search of any type of other life on the island.

Unfortunately, they discovered a Japanese village where they were taken in as prisoners of war. One of the prisoners, a pilot in the Royal Navy, took special notice of Judy providing her with some of his daily rations.

When a British prisoner was beaten by a guard, Judy quickly jumped in and took the beating instead. Frank, the prisoner, requested she be taken in as another prisoner of war to guarantee her life.

Three years later, in 1945, Frank and his dog returned home to England, where she was awarded the Dickin Medal.

Gunner the Kelpie

Another World War II story. This one happens to be in Australia. At the Darwin Air Force Base, soldiers found a stray dog (a Kelpie). He was about six months old with a broken leg at the time. The men at the base nursed him back to health and decided to name him Gunner.

At first, he started as a pet improving the morale of the base. Then, he began to recognize something extremely important. The sound of Japanese planes.

Due to his sensitive hearing (like other dogs), he was able to alert the base of oncoming Japanese planes 20-60 minutes before they arrived. This provided the men at the base with plenty of time to prepare for their arrival.

His hearing was so precise, any time he would bark an official air raid siren would be let off.

Lucca the Lifesaver

In 2012, Lucca was responsible for sniffing bombs out in Afghanistan. She had gone on over 400 missions by this point in time. On her very last mission, she got too close to one of the bombs and blew off one of her legs.

Her handler, Corporal Juan Rodriguez, was with her when it happened. He quickly made a tourniquet and carried her to safety. He took full responsibility for her during her recovery process. He even slept with her through the night to let her know she was never alone.

When she fully recovered, she was awarded the Dickin Medal. Between WWII and 2012, only 66 military dogs have received this honor.

Cairo the Navy Seal

Okay. Last story. Cairo, the Navy SEAL-trained Belgian Malinois, was chosen to accompany US Special Forces in 2011 to sniff out bombs and hidden enemies.

Cairo was fully equipped with all of the latest technology, and helped soldiers succeed in a mission that sent a message all across the world. Cairo found Osama bin Laden.

What a feat, right?

Cairo is now retired and now, instead of assisting with military activities, helps his new family carry groceries in from the car to the house.

Wrapping it Up

Dogs do some pretty amazing things for us. Yes, we do talk about how incredible they are every week, but with K9 Veterans Day this week I felt it was important to highlight a few out of the many dogs who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Until next time.