I never knew much about dogs used in war, but my DS10 has a project at school for Veteran's Day that requires him to interview a veteran. Both of his grandfathers were veterans (Vietnam and Korea), but they are both dead, so we had to cast around. I found a man I work with who is a Vietnam veteran and who was in a Scout Dog unit. This lead to some side research, on my part, for my own interest.
Fascinating stuff. And, the super sad part is that, at the time of the Vietnam War, dogs were considerd "equipment" or "armaments" and almost ALL of the war dogs used in the Vietnam War were euthanized in country or abandoned there. Out of 4-5,000 only 200 came home. These dogs were heroes, in ever sense of the word and saved thousands of lives.
Ugh. I've been teary eyed about this all weekend. My coworker told me that dogs came home with their handlers and were retired during WWII and that Clinton signed a bill that allowed military dogs to come home and be retired into civilian homes, so I guess it's better now.
Now I'm teared up too, dogs are amazing. I was curious about the breed of choice for that war and found that it was the Doberman. I thought it was pit bull so found a link with heroic PBs that had me tearing up.
People have really raised the importance of dogs in our society. It has some goofy ramifications, like dog clothes that come with buttons and hoods (really?) but also good ones so that the dogs of war can come home along with their people.
Last edited by cowboymom; Nov. 3, 2012 at 08:56 PM.
We are a military family and our current installation has a working dog program. Retired dogs and 'washout' dogs now go to adoptive families to live out their days - several of our friends have family dogs who came from the program. Doesn't make up for what used to happen, but please rest assured that today's military working dogs have a much better shot at life!
The Belgian shepherds (Malinois, Groenendal, Tervuren) were used extensively in World War I. I can see why, my parents have a young Tervueren who is just so sharp and intelligent, quick with a great sense of humor, she'd almost top my Sdt poodle! http://www.terrificpets.com/articles/10223465.asp
Some of the dogs are quite aggressive. I talked with our dog guys, and a lot of the dogs overseas required really skilled handlers and would not be fit for civilian adoption - we had to patch up the handlers a good few times after their own dogs bit.
Depends on the dog, of course; and its main job, I think. The sniffer and search dogs weren't aggressive.
Coanteen is right on - although I'll be nit-picky and say "High drive" rather than aggressive: ) *Most* working dogs are great at their respective jobs because they are high-drive and selectively neurotic. Please recognize I say this with a loving tone and big smile. This same intensity, while wonderful for the job, means they may not make the best pet for a family. With that said - mandatory disclaimer - some working dogs are GREAT pets. Its just that the dogs are trained to do a very specific job - and the transition out may not be the easiet, or safest, option. However - the "washout" dogs may be wonderful because they weren't suited to the required intensity.
I work/train Narc/police dogs and they are wonderful, amazing creatures. However - the qualities that make them great working dogs deserve respect - and the understanding that not all working dogs can turn "off" when they come home.
I am not saying the should all be euthinized - but I also do not have a suggestion for the right option.
The military has been terrible to the pets of the troops. Dogs are cats are frequently killed due to the excuse it's for health reasons. The troops go out and when they come back their dogs and cats have been killed. Of course, worse treatment of horses/mules abandoned by the military in WWI and WWII happened.
In Vietnam dogs were abandoned in-country. Supposedly due to diseases in the area they claimed they were afraid would be spread to the US (e.g. TCP Tropical Canine Pancytopenia).
Luckily, there are a few groups who rescue the animals in Iraq for the troops and get them back to the US.
The military has been terrible to the pets of the troops. Dogs are cats are frequently killed due to the excuse it's for health reasons. The troops go out and when they come back their dogs and cats have been killed.
That's because they're NOT pets! Soldiers aren't supposed to feed the freaking strays. Troops adopt them as "pets" against orders and then whine when poor PMeds have to go around killing the things. How do you think the PMeds feel, having to do that shit because people can't follow simple orders?
They won't shrivel up and die if they can't have a kitteh during their tour. And the sheer amount of money needed to legally rescue one of those animals and bring it over to the US is ridiculous, there are plenty of doggies to save right stateside.
(Although that mongoose one troop bought and built a huge interlocking caging system for was pretty awesome, I'll admit. Its name is/was Sketch, and a tally of its "kills" was kept updated on a wooded board. I have pics of it somewhere).
Maybe not but it might make for a lot less psychological issues. I do feel sorry for the PMeds who have to do the killing.
Or for more. My friends were feeding one cute young dog (feeding it by their living quarters but not letting it go in). A pack of larger dogs get wind of the food and tore the puppy apart, and then they had to round up and kill the pack.
Another group on base got a cat with kittens (or maybe it gave birth after they got it, not sure). They brought in into their living area. The person who reported it was one of them, who was allergic - these were tight group quarters, and that soldier was fucking terrified that the rest of his friends would find out he reported the cat and would shun him for it. He suffered the allergy symptoms for weeks until he finally broke down and told PMed.