September 07, 2017
When the famous Navy SEAL Team Six made a successful raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011, there was one very important and integral part why the said operation was a success. Service dogs.These were the dogs that were trained by the military for the main purpose of doing covert military operations such as the raid on the stronghold of the most wanted man on the planet.
There are military dogs in every branch of the United States Armed Forces. These four legged heroes help and work side by side with their human counterparts whether in rescue operations or in very dangerous military assignments. According to theAmerican Humane Association, 150- 200 service men and women owe their lives to their military dog counterparts because of the dogs great sense of smell in detecting IED’s and hidden weapons caches. And because of this, the success and safety of every operation that involves military dogs are higher compared to operations that do not involve them. In fact, tens of thousands of lives have been saved since the military integrated military dogs in the army since World War II.
But what happens to these military dogs once the military operations that they successfully helped to accomplish comes to an end? According to the article that was published in The New York Times that was entitled “After Duty, Dogs Suffer like Soldiers”, once a combat dog has been retired, it will be “treated like cattle” and the military will just leave the dog behind and “do not care about them”.
As of late, the media has been giving a lot of attention to the plight of these retired military dogs. They question the process that goes through once a dog is retired. Why it is so easy to leave these canine heroes behind despite the fact that they played a big role in ensuring that our soldiers have greater success in completing missions? Despite the fact that they saved many lives?
The good news is, when former U.S. President Barack Obama signed the massive defense bill, there was a provision on the bill that allows U.S. military dogs to come home to the United States once they are retired from service.
Before, too many military and working dogs that are retired overseas were left behind even if their Combat Buddies were willing to adopt them. This is because once they are retired, they become civilians and therefore become unqualified to travel back home in military vehicles. This is such a poor way to repay the animals that have bravely and unconditionally served our Nation alongside service men and women. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 changes all that. The Act now gives the dogs’ military handlers the first choice if they want to adopt the dog or not.
The law also mandates that all military dogs should be returned to the U.S. once they are retired from service. This is not only good news to the retired military dog but also to the soldier who have developed a great attachment to the dog that has been his companion and sometimes his lifeline during dangerous military operations. Whether two-footed or four-footed, these retired heroes should return and be welcomed as the heroes they are and treated with the utmost honor and respect.
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