So many of our pets have saved our lives. They keep us active, inspire us to get out of bed in the morning, and slow life down so we appreciate it more.
Around here, we love a good hero dog story. It gives insight into how loyal and loving canines are, but there are some dogs who take it to a new level.
Police and military dogs are trained extensively and only the extraordinary make it through advanced training. We’re honoring just a few notable dogs who served and earned the title- hero.
Serving as a police dog has enough challenges, without having the dense stomping ground of Klamath National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service found something special in the Belgian Malinois, Ice.
After a raid, Ice was released to catch a suspect that ran down a hill. He held tight to the individual, even as he was stabbed numerous times.
Ice was airlifted to a veterinary center, where he was miraculously released later that day. This was the second time Ice had been stabbed and he continued to serve until his retirement later that month.
Another distinguished Belgian Malinois in the service of the United States was Conan, who was known to be a participant in the Syrian Barisha Raid. During the raid, Conan chased the terrorist and leader of the Islamic state, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, down a tunnel where Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest.
Conan was injured in the raid because of exposed electrical wires, but recovered and returned to duty. He became a media sensation after being praised by President Trump.
Sergeant Stubby was never trained as a military dog when he was smuggled into the army during World War I by Corporal Jame Conroy of the 102nd Infantry. When he was discovered, Conroy’s commanding officer saluted the Boston Terrier mix like every other soldier.
Stubby served 18 months and protected his regiment against mustard gas, comforted wounded, and even captured a German soldier. Once home, he was a celebrity who met Presidents, marched in parades and served as a special agent for the Bureau of Investigation.
His remains reside at the Smithsonian and a plaque is dedicated to him at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City referring to him as “A Brave Stray”.
Over the years, Cairo proved himself to be everything you’d want in a military dog. He had a single track mind and understood the difference between right and wrong- bypassing infants amidst high-stress attacks.
He acted in the strategic mission that caught Osama Bin Laden and continued to serve until he retired and was adopted by his handler. Cairo is a valiant example of not only what military dogs offer, but the bond that develops between service members- two and four-legs alike.
The last dog we highlight has a less colorful history, but by far, the most impactful legacy. Up until 2000, military dogs who were no longer able to serve were not sent into a respectful retirement. They were left in war zones or euthanized.
When one military dog was no longer fit for duty, his handler attempted to adopt him, but was denied. This fight for adoption pushed Robby’s Law to be signed by President Clinton and continues to make eligible military working dogs (MWDs) available for adoption.
While MWDs seem charming from a distance, they live very different realities than the average pet. Like human service members, they are expertly trained and are known to experience PTSD after service.
We’re humbled by these canine heroes and the handlers who work alongside them.
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