On this day of remembrance, honor, and deep, deep gratitude, we salute not only the sacrifices of brave humans, but the massive hearts and incredible loyalty of the canines who have stood by them: charging the front lines with infantry; bomb-seeking with security patrols; assisting search and rescue teams; providing therapeutic support in myriad ways... from tiny toy dogs, to great German Shepherds, to mutts, strays and rescues... dogs have fought, saved, healed, and helped troops of all kinds, for centuries... and today - if not every day - we pay homage to their heroism.
The photo above is of the War Dog memorial at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Hartsdale, NY (ACME News Pictures, Inc. 1936).
Among the countless 4-leggeds who made their mark among the US military's finest, here are four who's stories have been thoroughly celebrated: clockwise starting with top left - Smokey the "Yorkie Doodle Dandy", "Sentry Dog Nemo" the German Shepherd, "War Hero" Rags the terrier mix, and the highly decorated all-American pit bull "Sargeant Stubby".
In researching this post I came across a great blog series called Rebecca's War Dog of the Week - terrific images and lovely little features on working dogs from around the world (definitely worth a bookmark). Rebecca Frankel is a writer living in Washington D.C., and her series appears to be a snapshop of her research for an upcoming book all about dogs in combat, to be released in 2013 - we'll be keeping an eye out for that!