Heartwarming Stories of Military Dogs
It’s well known that dogs are man’s best friend. Extremely loyal and loving creatures, canines are known to stick with their owners through thick and thin. As well as household pets, dogs have been serving with all branches of the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War. Currently, there are around 2,500 dogs now on active duty, performing important roles in all sorts of units such as policing, scouting and detecting. They have demonstrated their ability to save and impact humanity in countless ways.
During the battle of Guam in 1944, a Doberman pinscher, Cappy, stood guard over his sleeping soldiers at night and alerted them when Japanese soldiers were about to attack. Cappy was the first dog to be buried in the National War Dog Cemetery in Guam and was memorialized with a bronze statue. There have been many other dogs who served as a loyal warning system at night, such as Sgt. Stubby, who found his way to France during World War I and would run through the trenches warning soldiers about incoming attacks.
During World War II, Smoky, a tiny Yorkshire terrier is said to have saved 250 soldiers and 40 planes, just by helping get messages out through the telephone wire she helped run through a pipe. She also became one of the first war therapy dogs in the U.S. when her owner, Corporal Willian Wynne noticed her profound healing effect on the soldiers. Two other dogs, Balto and Togo both contributed to saving many human lives. In 1925, they were part of the Siberian huskies on the serum run to get medicine for victims of an epidemic, traveling through low visibility and below-zero temperatures.
And finally, Lucca, the German Shepherd who served more than 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. After saving Marine Master Sergeant Chris Willingham,’s life on multiple occasions, Lucca recently passed from old age at 14. She was given a full military burial in Michigan, where fellow dogs of war walked in formation in her honor. Lucca was the first working dog in the military to receive the Dickin Medal, the highest honor for a military service animal.