Author: Haley Gibbs
March 13 is K-9 Veterans Day, a day to celebrate our unsung heroes by honoring and commemorating the service and sacrifices of military working dogs throughout our history. These brave dogs work side-by-side with the men and women on active military duty. And it’s not just the U.S. military that uses working dogs, but dogs are vital members of search and rescue teams, police, security teams, and many more who work alongside pups to accomplish monumental tasks every day.
In 1942, the Army started training a new program called the “War Dog Program,” more commonly known as the “K-9 Corps,” where dogs joined the U.S. Armed Forces for the first time.
During World War I, military working dogs were activated to do two things: boost morale among troops and act as gas detectors with their phenomenal sense of smell.
Many different breed types are used to serve in the various U.S. branches of the military including German Shepherds, Belgian Sheepdogs, Doberman Pinschers, Collies, Giant Schnauzers, Airedale Terriers, Rottweilers, Eskimos, Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and more.
Dogs are vital members of service and are awarded in various ways, including awards and medals, and even have retirement and memorial services.
Training Working Dogs
Working dogs live with a foster family until about six months old before they enter the rigorous training program. If dogs can complete the 120-day training program, they are trained either to patrol and sniff out explosives or to patrol and detect drugs.
Currently, there are about 1,600 working dogs on active duty across the different branches of the military. Just like humans, once a dog is assigned to a specific branch, that is where they typically spend their entire military career.
Support Nonprofit Organizations
Many nonprofit organizations assist with helping retired working dogs as they transition from active duty to civilian life. A few nonprofit organizations will, for example, help with this transition through their health and welfare, prescriptions, home placement, memorials, and much more. If you’re interested in donating to the cause, research and find a nonprofit to support that you believe in.
Adopt a Retired Dog
As dogs retire from their working dog duties, they need to find their forever family. These dogs are officially done working and now can play, rest, and enjoy their retirement after working tirelessly. Some, however, may enjoy engaging in some of the behaviors and activities their active service lifestyles once offered them, so keep this in mind if you’re looking to adopt a retired service dog and do your research to ensure you’re a good fit for their needs.
There are a variety of organizations that will help you find the best retired working dog for you and your family if you think your home would be complete with a retired working dog.
A great way to reward dogs for their service and to keep them fit and healthy is by offering them tasty and nutritious chews, treats, and bones. Natural Farm’s all-natural and protein-rich Power Bully Sticks, for example, help support dogs’ skin, coat, joint, and muscle health.
Natural Farm is an all-natural dog treat company that makes a variety of chews and treats your dog will love, visit our store page to see our entire collection!
About Natural Farm
In 2018, after years of searching for high-quality, natural dog treat products, we decided to bring them to the market ourselves. That’s how Natural Farm was born—we wanted to present the industry with what it lacked the most: natural dog chews, treats, and bones, sustainably sourced from local suppliers and produced in our own human-grade, FDA- and USDA-approved facilities, where every product is lab tested for quality and contamination.
Natural Farm is committed to pets, people, and the planet. We give back to communities and pets in need, support reforestation efforts and nonprofits, and our products are packaged using recycled materials.
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