National K9 Veterans Day falls on March 13th annually, because on March 13, 1942, the United States Army K9 Corps was formed. In honor of National K9 Veterans Day, here are five things you may not know about hard-working and loyal military dogs.
1.) There are approximately 2,500 military dogs in the service today, with nearly a third of those dogs serving overseas.
2.) Military dogs tend to include breeds, such as the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, and the Belgian Malinois.
3.) War dogs form remarkable bonds with their handlers. The dogs mourn the loss of their handler and are deeply saddened in the event their handler passes away. If a dog of war is lost in combat, they are honored by the military. Feeding dishes are often symbolically placed upside down and a poem called "Guardians of the Night" is read in their honor.
4.) Only half of the dogs make it through the gruesome training. Suitable dogs for the military must be able to attack on command. In fact, many pups don't make it far into training, because they find it difficult to bite a human.
5.) Like humans, military dogs can get PTSD. Now that Canine PTSD has officially been recognized by the military as of 2010, it's been taken very seriously. Veterinarians are making strides in tracking the dogs' health and deployment histories similar to their human counterparts to better understand how dogs go through Canine PTSD and how they can recover from it.
Dogs in the military deserve to be recognized and honored as American heroes. We thank all of those who have served and continue to serve – both human and K-9.