MEMORIAL DAY – 25th May 2020
Whilst Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, it is also a time to remember the brave men, women and animals that gave their lives for their country, so that we can enjoy the freedom to enjoy this ‘holiday’.
The American Pit Bull was used by the U.S. military during the Seminole and Civil wars and became the poster dog for the World War I propaganda and recruitment posters, but over the years the breeds enlisted for service became as diverse as the roles they perform.
Their super-human eyesight, hearing and sense of smell, make these canine compatriots an invaluable member of any team and they work tirelessly 60 hours a week, with on-call shifts 24/7 – and all without a paycheck to go towards their retirement or pay for meds to ease the pain of health issues resulting from their intense and physical work demands!
BUT they were not trained to kill, they were trained to save lives, with roles including: transporting medical supplies, search & recue (on land & sea!), sentries, messengers, clearing buildings, explosives detection, tracking, tunnelling, narcotics inspections, customs and border protection and even pulling telephone wires under airfields and mined tunnels – to name just a few!
Dogs Have No Choice!
These courageous canines don’t volunteer, they are simply drafted, yet their loyalty and bravery have no bounds, and they gladly put their lives on the line to protect their human service buddies.
Of course dogs are ‘man’s best friend’ and more recently they have been an integral part of the recovery process as companions for wounded heroes or those suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Many of these special service dogs were originally taken from rescue shelters and trained for active duties all over the world, but it is heart-breaking to think that many of them returned to shelters or euthanized at the end of their useful service.
It seems therefore very fitting that two big problems can become one mutual magical mission:
Help every American hero and save every shelter or rescue animal from euthanasia.
Companions for Heroes (C4H) provides companion dogs, and on a case-by-case basis, service dogs, obtained from shelters, rescues and humane societies, who might otherwise be euthanized, free of charge to active duty military personnel, military veterans, first responders, military spouses and children, and Gold Star Families recovering from the psychological challenges they suffered during service to our country. C4H increases public awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other challenges confronting our country’s heroes; and rally’s support for animal welfare and the adoption of shelter and/or rescue animals.
C4H is a non-clinical and non-facility based organization that places special emphasis on creating mutually beneficial opportunities for shelter and rescue animals, some who might otherwise be euthanized, and our nation’s service men and women by accessing the expertise of medical care professionals and animal welfare organizations. C4H is an Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) program that recognizes the incredible power of the human-animal relationship and seeks to support those suffering from psychological stress as they pursue recovery with the unconditional love of a dog.
You can learn more about them at: www.companionsforheroes.org
Also, sadly even today, a service dog often finds that their handler is simply unable to take their service buddy home with them, once they retire from active duty. We can only imagine the desolation and confusion those loyal dogs suffer, being separated from their devoted handlers.
The good news is that many of these special animals are eligible for adoption and are placed into appropriate and loving homes. But, as you can appreciate, these are not your usual dog and in many cases these dogs are not recommended for families with small children or other pets.
Because of their unique temperaments and training, the military does not surrender de-commissioned military working dogs to shelters, rescues or sanctuaries for placement. All military working dog (MWD) adoptions are managed through the 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio. This is the home of the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Adoption Program.
So, if you think you could provide a happy retirement home for one of these loyal 4-legged patriots, you can learn more about the program here:
Note: Pets for Patriots is not involved in actual MWD adoptions, nor is any other private organization or non-profit. You must contact Joint Base San Antonio directly.
Memorial Day weekend is a time when many of us would usually commemorate and celebrate with our families in various ways such as backyard BBQs and parades. Sadly, due to Covid-19 restrictions, our celebrations may be curtailed somewhat this year, but we can still all do something!
Please celebrate and keep each other safe!
Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team