Life

Let’s All Send Some Love To Military Working Dogs!

Let’s All Send Some Love To Military Working Dogs!

Written By Meredith Kavanagh

Dec 7, 2016

A dog saves a life every day. Whether it’s a therapy animal providing comfort to their owner, or a 2-year-old pup protecting one of his pint-sized humans from a poisonous snake, we see hero dogs everywhere. 

But some of our canine friends take their protection to another level by acting as military working dogs. In honor of Armed Forces Day (May 21), we’re highlighting the remarkable actions of our military working dogs and human troops. 

These beloved and brave animals are proud to perform their duty, but as with any soldier, extra love and support is always appreciated. If you’ve ever wondered, “How can I send care packages to military dogs?” then read on. We’ll go over how to send a care package to troops, both canine and human, and give you a bit of knowledge on the rich history of these courageous canines! 

History Of Military Working Dogs

military working dogs
Source

Military working dogs have been a vital component of the armed forces since WWI, and have been deployed to Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, and Iraq, among other locations. These brave pups work side by side with troops to lend their superhuman senses to the military in a number of ways. Military working dog duties include detecting bombs, finding water locations and tunnels, and acting as scouts, trackers, and sentries.

Whew! These are some talented pups. 

Currently, the most popular breeds for military working dogs are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois because they are intelligent, loyal, aggressive, and easily trained. The German Shepherd is the preferred breed because they consistently exhibit the desired traits of a military pup, and they’re dependable and adaptable to any climate.

Related: Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherd: Can You Tell Them Apart?

During WWII, military working dogs only had a few weeks of training with their handler — and their handler was often chosen solely based on whether they had a dog at home, or any familiarity with dogs. My, how things have changed! 

Nowadays, military working dogs go through extensive training, as do their handlers. Training for military working dog handlers includes 17 weeks of Advanced Individual Training so that they can properly train, handle, and care for their dog. Handlers are even trained in basic veterinary first aid so that they can treat minor injuries in the field. To say that military pups are in good hands would be an understatement! 

How To Send Care Packages For Military Working Dogs

The US War Dogs Association is one of the most prominent nonprofit organizations created to support military working dogs and their handlers. When the group was created in 2002, they collected only imperative items for military working dogs, such as Doggles — yes, dog goggles — and boots to protect them from the harsh elements. Today, Operation Military Care K-9 sends all types of items to the approximately 2,800-3,000 military working dogs that are stationed worldwide.

Donatable items include: 

  • K-9 cooling mats
  • K-9 Hygiene tools, such as nail clippers, brushes, combs, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Heavy-duty chew toys, such as Kongs
  • Doggles
  • Collapsible nylon water bowls
  • K-9 salves for paws and noses
  • Dog treats (made in the USA only)

If you prefer to send a monetary donation, the US War Dog Association makes it a piece of cake! You can easily send donations via PayPal, and you can even specify how you’d like your money used. You can make a general donation, and the organization will distribute money towards the most needed items, or you can specify which items you’d like sent on your behalf. 

Send Care Packages To Troops (Humans, Too!)

As much as we value our military working dogs, it’s imperative to remember their human counterparts as well. In addition to sending some love to military working dogs for Armed Forces Day, send a care package to the handlers who take care of them and risk their lives for our country every day. 

Donations for military working dog handlers work the same way. You can simply send money via PayPal, or you can send care packages made up from items on this list.

One of the best ways to support military working dogs is to support the people whom they love so much!