|We salute and honor our Military Working Dogs!|
After the show, I was left with the impression that our U.S. military dogs were being abandoned. I was outraged and it made me cry even harder. Let me say that I am not sure that was the impression the America Humane Association intended. I am a huge fan of the incredible work they do. I am only telling you what I took away from the broadcast.
I decided to do some research to see if our military would actually spend time and money to train these dogs only to discard them to fend for themselves on foreign soil. After all, these dogs are our fighting warriors on four paws! There isn’t too much that the government does that shocks me anymore. I wanted to believe that there was simply no way this was happening. Here is what I have found out during my research.
After the Vietnam War, many dogs were left behind. Here is the link to a YouTube video, The real story of the Vietnam War - WAR DOGS- AMERICA'S FORGOTTEN HEROES, if you’d like to watch it. *This is not a warm fuzzy feeling video. If you were alive during the Vietnam War, you know the state our country was in during those years. Hindsight is always 20/20 in every military action.
The recent article, "Don't Abandon Our Dogs of War," written by Jonah Goldberg and published on the National Review Online where he is the founding editor and editor-at-large, has many people upset. In the article, Mr. Goldberg states, “It is one thing to ask these warriors to say goodbye to their dog when it is still on active duty and is assigned a new handler, which often happens. It is quite another to ask them to leave these dogs behind when the dogs are effectively abandoned overseas, left to languish in shelters — or worse. That’s why handlers are sometimes forced to make incredible sacrifices to get their four-legged comrades home on their own.”
I found several articles that refute that. On Orvis.com, Phil Monahan and on Rick's Foreign Policy, Rebecca Frankel the senior editor, special projects at Foreign Policy and Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent both published articles stating that the claims are nothing more than a perpetual urban legend. Ms. Frankel’s article is also posted on the Facebook of Military Working Dogs.
The Department of Defense has 100% accountability over every Military Working Dog (MWD) in its program. There are also Contract Working Dogs (CWD) provided by contractors. The contracts require those dogs to be returned to the contractor when the contract ends. Congress oversees the MWD program and every dog that was removed from service must be accounted for in an annual report. It includes how many dogs were taken out of action, how they were removed, and that must include any euthanasia.
There are many stray dogs in war zones and many are “adopted” by our service men and women. This is a violation of the Department of Defense policies. When those soldiers return stateside, the government does not provide transportation back for those dogs. Those dog are left behind, because that is their homeland. Many of these dogs can be reunited with their soldier through donations from several wonderful organizations. However, they are not abandoned military dogs.
When it comes to the CWD dogs, some of the contractors that have been working with the Afghanistan and Iraq governments sell the dogs to those countries. Some of these dogs are extremely experienced and already in those countries. This is not a common practice.
I hope that this helps shed some light on the subject. In a perfect world no dogs would be left alone in a war zone. I'm sure that being away from home in a hostile environment and a stray dog comes to be your friend, you would love it. It is heart breaking that these dogs cannot return with their owners. I’m sure that is the purpose for the policy against keeping a non-military dog.
Several terrific organizations do work tirelessly to raise money to reunite our veterans with the dogs they fell in love with and had to leave. I commend them for their work and hope I get to watch many more soldier/dog reunions. As with all charities, please check into the one where you send your money.
**I am only sharing the information that I found through an online search. The majority of my research supported the belief that no Military Working Dogs are being left behind. I did not personally speak to any of the authors of the articles mentioned.
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