Veteran’s Day is a time to recognize and give thanks for all the work that is done and sacrifices that are made by all members of the Armed Forces so that our nation can live freely. Military Working Dogs (MWDs) also risk their lives to keep America safe every day.
Many of these pups work double duty, taking care of their “pack” while on duty, going out on patrol while also being an integral part of their handlers’ lives. An act signed into law in 2000 by President Clinton allows for the adoption of military working dogs; previously working dogs were euthanized following the end of their service. Foundations such as the Military Working Dog Foundation function specifically to place these furry heroes into a perfect home following years of faithful service.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD supports claims that owning a dog can lift a soldier’s mood or help them feel less stressed. Some veterans are so traumatized that they cannot return to work. Some struggle even to communicate with their families. Dogs can help them feel better by providing true and constant companionship. All dog owners, including those who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can experience these benefits. Just looking into the eyes of or petting a dog, cat or other precious creature can help reduce the stress and anxiety of the veteran by the release of oxytocin.
These special service animals deserve the same honor bestowed on their human partners when they serve or retire from service. On this Veterans Day, we urge you to help support these wonderful dogs and honor the work they have done and will continue to do through donation of time, money or word of mouth.