When a dog isn't a dog
A U.S. Army soldier and his military working dog jump off the ramp of a Chinook helicopter during water training over the Gulf of Mexico
January 6th, 2012
01:55 PM ET

When a dog isn't a dog

By CNN National Security Producer Jennifer Rizzo

When an insurgent rocket attack badly injured Cpl. Dustin Lee while he was on patrol in Iraq, his shrapnel-impaled partner, Lex, picked himself up to lie over Lee - an effort to protect him.

"He knew Dustin was injured," said Lee's mom, Rachel. Lex was his bomb-sniffing dog.

Lee didn't survive his injuries, but Lex did - and became a part of the Lee family when Rachel adopted him.

"When Dustin was killed, one of the first things I asked about was Lex, because of their camaraderie. They depended on each other"

Lex, a German shepherd, served in the Marines as a military working dog.

There are about 2,700 dogs serving worldwide, according to the Defense Department. Roughly 600 of these dogs are deployed in designated war zones overseas, including Afghanistan, areas of Africa and Kuwait.

These "war dogs" are used on patrols, in drug and explosives detection, and on specialized missions, like the Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden last year.

But while these dogs walk side by side with their troop handlers or go on jumps from helicopters in service members' arms, the Defense Department classifies military working dogs as "equipment," a term that advocates want changed.

"These dogs are more soldiers than they are equipment," said Debbie Kandoll, founder of Military Working Dog Adoptions.

Kandoll, who helps civilians adopt military working dogs, estimates that the average war dog saves 150 soldier lives during its service.

Dogs have been serving in military conflicts since World War I, returning home after the conflicts ended. But thousands of dogs were left behind during the Vietnam War. Of the roughly 4,900 dogs that the United States used in Vietnam, around 2,700 were turned over to the South Vietnamese army, and a staggering 1,600 were euthanized, according to veteran and former Marine dog handler Ron Aiello.

"Equipment you can leave behind," Kandoll said. "We've left tanks in Iraq. Everywhere we've been, we've left stuff. If you reclassify them as manpower, then you can't leave them."

Today, dogs are no longer left in war zones. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed a law that allowed the dogs to be adopted by former handlers, law enforcement agencies and civilians. But Kandoll says this law didn't go far enough and is pushing for an amendment to include the reclassification of war dogs.

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, agrees that a new classification is needed to elevate the "solider dog." Jones has been working on a bill that would reclassify the dogs as "K-9 members of the armed forces" and provide a way for the Defense Department to honor the dogs with official medals.

"Those who have been to war tell me that the dogs are invaluable," he said. "That they are just as much a part of a unit as a soldier or Marine. They are buddies."

Jones has submitted the proposed legislation to the Congressional Budget Office for a cost review. A response is expected by mid-February.

Despite the classification, the military says the dogs are respected.

"While there is a proper, legal classification for a working dog, we know they are living things, and we have great respect and admiration for them," said Lackland Air Force Base spokesman Gerry Proctor. The dogs are trained at Lackland. "A handler would never speak of their dog as a piece of equipment. The dog is their partner. You can walk away from a damaged tank, but not your dog. Never."

But if the dogs are retired on an overseas base, the military will not provide for their transportation back home, a practice that Kandoll says is like leaving them behind.

"The day the dog is retired, the dog is considered excess equipment and not entitled to any transport back," she said.

When a dog is retired on an overseas base and is adopted by someone in the United States, the adopter is charged the dog's shipping cost, which can be up to $2,000.

"It is essentially the same as a government surplus sale," Proctor said. "If the government has a surplus sale in Ramstein, Germany, and sells you a truck, then should the American taxpayer be on the hook to get that truck back to your house in Atlanta? The government doesn't own it once you buy it."

"That doesn't make sense to me," said Aiello, who thinks the military should wait to retire a dog until it's back in the United States. This way, it will be entitled to transportation benefits.

Kandoll says the cost to the taxpayer to send the dogs home would be minimal.

"We have half-empty military cargo transport planes transversing the globe daily. It would be more than feasible to place a retired military working dog on the transport plane back to the continental United States," Kandoll said. "Uncle Sam got them over there, and it's a point of honor for Uncle Sam to get his soldiers, whether they are four-legged or two-legged, back to the U.S."

But once home and placed with an adoptive family, medical bills are sure to stack up. Many of these retired dogs are more than 9 years old and are plagued with battlefield issues such as arthritis and even post-traumatic stress disorder. The Defense Department, Kandoll says, should allow military veterinarians to treat retired dogs.

A dog's medical history however is made clear during the adoption process, according to the Defense Department.

"So they go into it eyes wide open," Proctor said. "If you buy that truck, how far do you want the American taxpayer to be on the hook for the truck's oil changes and tuneups for its life?"

A one-month supply of all the medication the dog needs is also given to the adopter to ensure that the adoptive family has enough time to procure veterinary care for the animal, according to Proctor.

The brave dog Lex that stayed by his handler's side until the end is now 11 years old. He is doing well but has PTSD and pieces of shrapnel that cause spinal complications, Rachel Lee said.

"To be able to reclassify them would be to also get them help in a better manner," Lee said. "To be able to have them looked at differently - as a vet, as a soldier and to give them benefits."

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • Middle East • Military
soundoff (870 Responses)
  1. Hear Ye

    Let's keep this REAL. These are DOGS ...... D O G S .......... not humans. Get it?

    January 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
    • greg

      Yes, they are dogs, not gear. Get it? Clearly you don't.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • cab

      You say that like there's something special about humans?....we're not that cool.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply
      • Jason

        Maybe your not that cool. But I completely agree they are dogs and they are being treated humanely so WHO CARES!!!!

        January 6, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Rick

      Here, you come here and get this.........:)

      January 7, 2012 at 2:07 am | Reply
    • Lone

      Deficient in empathy? Never had a pet? You couldn't say that and have it be otherwise. Nobody with a working animal considers them as such and that is the argument here.

      January 7, 2012 at 5:24 am | Reply
  2. Michael

    I believe in JESUS – I'm from the South and a Repubican. I believe these dogs have a soul as my Gawd told me to say that. As such, I believe these dogs should be given all rights and privelidges afforded ferterlized human eggs, zygots, embryros and children.

    After all, they are smart.

    God bless America!

    January 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
    • darby

      All animals deserve respect. If you truly believe what you have written, then I encourage you to become a vegetarian and stop eating animals. they are all unique and special in their own way. Let's stop categorizing them...

      January 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  3. ALL uh

    I just loves thems, their first jump out of plane, holy cow, they must think they're gonna die for sure! If they survive, on any level, missing a limb, whatever, they should be given all the same benefits of a soldier, oh wait, they're screwed too.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  4. chris

    I agree the dogs should be brought home. Having military veterinarian take care of the dogs would be a bit overboard though.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
  5. C

    How is it we're willing to borrow $1 trillion from the Chinese so we can throw bombs on people whose regimes we propped up?"
    Trillion-dollar deficits at home and a war in Iraq that is estimated to have cost at least that much. If you vote for any candidate other
    than Ron Paul, you are voting to spend YOUR tax dollars, voting to create a greater deficit, putting your future and your childrens future in
    debt, all the while, bombing innocent people in other nations, murdering those people, destroying their homes and way of life, and causing
    worldwide anguish. That is what you are paying for, WAR. How can "Christian conservatives" preach the ideals of Christianity, while
    turning a blind eye to the people who suffer because of our foreign policy? America is the war mongering nation beginning strife and
    unrest worldwide because of our foreign meddling and that's the truth.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply
    • BK

      I hate people like you. You know why? Because you make Ron Paul supporters like me look like kooks when you post rambling statements on completely unrelated articles. I have to deal with that stereotype because of morons like you.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply
      • HoyaLaw15

        No sir, you make yourself look like a kook.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  6. Jason

    This is an injustice to these animals to be treated in this manner. However the law dictating how the anumals are considered is out dated but I can say that I understand things were different when it was written. I bet you could start a petition on Facebook and get the help of the ASPCA, Humane Society, all the armed services members, etc... to sign and get this law changed. I have to rescue dogs that mean the world to me and could not imagine what they would mean if I had to experience some of the situations theses soldiers have while on duty. My hat is off to both the 2 legged and 4 legged service members, thank you!

    January 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply
    • Hear Ye

      These are DOGS. End of conversation.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Reply
      • Chico

        I feel truly sorry for. Not!

        January 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • horseyone62

        You have clearly never had a dog and experienced the unconditional love they give. To just abandon these brave animals after all they have given is unthinkable. You are just a human, an insensitive one at that, quite expendable.

        January 7, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  7. lulz

    this is why dogs are better than cats. cause there is one right there parachuting out an effing plane gettin ready to bite someones face off. would not mind my tax dollars going to a fund to take care of these dogs after their service is up. full vet care and making sure they have a good home to live out the last of their years. the price really is negligible compared to defense spending already.......

    January 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
    • Hear Ye

      Then you can pay .... I am not interested. Organize your doggie friends and have them contribute too. This is a perfect project for PETA – pay up goons.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  8. mchughliber

    let's not let this slide to the point where we're forcing soldiers to enter into a combat zones to pick up a dog. their dogs...

    January 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • You mean they are

      Or they're...sure THEY ARE dogs, but they are also a companion. No one other than one's own mother will love you like a dog will. THEIR love ( dog's) is the only unconditional love that exists.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
    • Eric of Reseda

      You aren't gettin' it. It's the handlers who want this, the soldiers who work with these dogs, because they know firsthand how these dogs save lives. It's the moral thing to do to bring them home. Even if there is risk.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  9. mesa

    if left behind that dog will b waiting for your return, even if others take care of them , they will b waiting because of that bond....bring the dogs home...

    January 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  10. Chicago Nick

    ""These dogs are more soldiers than they are equipment," said Debbie Kandoll, founder of Military Working Dog Adoptions. "

    Absolutely they're more than equipment and baggage!! They should even get paid somehow.. furry soldiers their handlers would say.... so will I.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  11. pop

    To every one bickering about dogs being mistreated,
    What's on your dinner plate tonight? a cow?

    All animals should be taken care of

    January 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Reply
    • Socks

      If cows want us to take them seriously, they should stop acting so goddamned delicious. They're asking for it.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • darby

      Thank you. All animals are special and deserving of life. How odd it is that we categorize them as loving pets, prey or dinner.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  12. Commander Bubba

    Dogs are not as vain as human beings who work for rewards and metals. Dogs do what they are asked and ask for little in return. Forget awards but give them a bone. They will be happy.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
    • Socks

      That kind of sounds like... slavery?

      January 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  13. debbie

    I agree the status of the dogs needs to be changed so that the "equipment" is not left behind to fend for themselves as the military did in Vietnam. As far as awards go, give the dog a bone and it will be happy. The award is really for the human but that's ok with me.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  14. And

    Besides all the bantering back and forth in the replies, isn't the pic cool of the soldier and his partner jumping out of the helicopter? What a team!!!!!!

    January 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • James

      Yes it is, isn't it!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • cab

      That is one kick-a$s dog.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  15. Jay in Florida

    Advocates are usually complete idiots. Dogs have been serving in the military since the ancient Egyptians used them on the battlefields, covered with body armor. But now this... idiotic activist.. sees a small glimpse of whatever they want to conveniently see, and they suddenly define the entire world and history by one mere simplistic fact they hold on to. Really, get a life... but more than that.. get an education and stop annoying the hell out of the rest of us, please.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      Yeah, that Republican Representative is such a liberal activist.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Reply
    • horseyone62

      @ Jay
      What do you base your comments on and why are you so hateful toward dogs? And yes, I do have an education (graduate degree from an Ivy league). Perhaps you are the one lacking in a life. BTW, the sponsors of this bill are all Republicans, maybe learn to read?

      January 7, 2012 at 12:22 am | Reply
  16. J

    1) Agree with the Uncle Sam got the dog there, bring it back. Leave no man, or animal, behind.

    2) Old picture. Notice the SEAL (correct me if I'm wrong), jumping out wearing Vibram FiveFingers? :)

    January 6, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • B

      I'll correct you since you are wrong. Last time I checked Vibram's were available for anyone to buy and were not part of the standard SO load out, and the person in the picture is wearing Army ACU's. I'd bet the guy really is in the Army.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  17. Jake

    If they want to classify their dogs as animal combatants or something then fine, but giving them awards is a little silly.

    January 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
    • cptdondo

      Why? The awards are a recognition for acts above and beyond. They mean as much to those in the combat group as they do to the person receiving them. I will bet that a soldier who's life had been saved by a dog will tear up when that dog gets a medal. It's a way the military recognizes valor.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Reply
    • B T W

      Why shouldnt the dogs get medals, if there serving our country and help save lifes, than ya, they should be given medals! you IDIOT!!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  18. Bart Fargo

    What's next – will dogs get to vote?

    January 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • Dick Trickle

      I'd rather have dogs vote before illegal aliens.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  19. s

    if the police department can classify their working dogs as officers, then war and military dogs should be classified as soldiers. I would gladly donate to a fund for their care like I do for veterans groups. get rid of pork barrel funds and politicians' ridiculous pay and benefits packages, and give it to all our soldiers, two and four legged!

    January 6, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Reply
    • Bart Fargo

      Does being a knuckledragger count as having 4 legs?

      January 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • Country Doc

      Agree. These dogs do more for our soldiers than most of our politicians. And putting a dog cage on a C5-A shouldn't tax the budget to much.....

      January 6, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Reply
  20. Tomorrows Dog

    I would rather my tax payer money go to bringing our service dogs home then the wasteful spending that occurred in the stimulus plan.

    January 6, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Reply
    • LINDA

      Exactly! Our government can bring every dog home and given the best medical treatment for life in exchange for just a fraction of the money they waste.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  21. Chris Bird

    And yet if somebody harms your family dog it's just treated as property. Go figure. Civilians have no rights anymore.

    January 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • S. Oakes

      If someone harms your Family dog the Family should make sure the person is punished. The article is only saying that the Military dogs should get the same treatment not better. If you have to move do you leave your dog at your old house to fend for itself?

      January 6, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      If someone harmed your dog and you shot the attacker, I certainly wouldn't find you guilty of anything if I was on the jury. I'm sure it would annoy the judge, but too bad.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  22. DogsBestFriend

    we Should give the CHILDREN of every Burger cow a pension based on their Parents Sacrifice to keep US alive?

    January 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Tom J

      What else do you want? We give them the same career as their parents, it being a family tradition and all.

      BTW, don't ever confuse a walking brisket with a dog. Dogs have been bred for thousands of years to understand human needs and emotions better than we do ourselves. Cows were bred to look really good next to two sides and a roll.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply
    • stop_trolling_please

      agreed.

      January 7, 2012 at 1:31 am | Reply
  23. Bama guy

    Lot's of bad information flowing here...first off, dogs do have rank in the military. They are always one grade higher than their handler. So a SGT (Army E-5) with a dog assigned to them than the dog would a SSG (Army E-6) to ensure their owner can't mistreat them without punishment. Dogs are considered Equipment on units equipment lists. Basically a listing of what the unit is supposed to have on hand to do their mission. You can easily switch dogs from the Equipment listing to the Personnel listing, but let's be honest, Dogs as equipment is soley a method used to fill the requirement and is specific to sourcing and wording. I've not seen any dogs left behind on the battlefield and I currently serve on a permenant overseas post with MWDs. Once the MWDs reach retirement, they are offered to the community for adoption and thankfully, kind people have always taken them in. Probally a great idea to reclassify this and just make it law so in the event that no one does want to adopt a vetern, they will still be taken care of. The wording of this bothers a lot of people, but it mostly wording. Quick fix to get this correct.

    January 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Reply
    • La Coquette

      Thank you for clarifying a few things. The fact is that at the end of Vietnam War many, many of the military dogs were left behind (even in their cages). I am happy that today they are treated better, but we need to change rheir classification.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
    • Apache111w

      Every unit has an MTOE (modified table of organization and equipment) for equipment and MTOE for personnel, which essentially states the required equipment in a unit and the required number and type (branch qual, position, and rank) of personnel. Just as an MTOE for equipment needs to be filled, so does one for personnel so the argument that it's just a means to fill a requirement is a load of crap because the military uses the same exact mentality for personnel. To have a Soldier have to sign a 2062 hand receipt for a living creature is pretty disgusting. It's too easy for the military to just add K9 to a personnel MTOE which would afford it better treatment than being part of an equipment listing, requiring better care and tracking.... or should I just drop my dog off with the motor pool for a re-tune and oil change?

      January 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
      • Bama guy

        That's basically the jist of the whole thing. Have DoD switch it to the personnel side and it's a done deal, then we can stop calling MWDs (or Soldiers as I like to call them) equipment and treat with the title and rank they are entitled too. The biggest issue it seems is getting overseas posts to figure out how to get them to someone who will care for them properly once they've completed their tour of service.

        January 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  24. Bart Fargo

    I agree with the article. Dogs should be reclassified as "cannon fodder", the same as our human troops in war zones across the world.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • Dick Trickle

      You are a t*rd.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  25. gmalick21

    "Equipment" is a name or classification. Has no meaning on how they are being treated. Get over it and/or worry about something worth everyone's time. Just so you people know = Ret. Lt. who served alongside multiple military dogs & brought one home for my family.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • Apache111w

      You retired as a Lieutenant???

      January 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Reply
      • And

        What, you have a problem with that? Thanks for serving our country OP.

        January 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  26. NathunderX

    This is a joke!

    January 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
    • NathunderX

      We need to tax 1% another few percent to be able to honor dogs. We are almost worthless when it comes to using our brain. Earth with limited amount of resources and over populated, an argument over what dogs need to be categorized as in military? Obviously they deserve respect, very high respect, but let's not get into crap that is nonsense, honoring a dog?

      January 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
      • S. Oakes

        We are not just talking about honoring a dog. We are talking about honoring a member or former member of oyr military that happens to be a dog. These beings are put into harms way the same as human military members and in many cases worse harm for less gain. They should get at least a free ride back state side.

        January 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • TheWiz71

      There's a really neat article on cracked.com about some of the most awesome military dogs in history – including one whose heroics in the Union cause in the Civil War almost caused the bald eagle to be displaced as America's national animal by that particular breed. So, sorry, not a joke.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  27. Mike

    This is beyond silly. Dogs are not soldiers. A dog risking his or her life on the front lines is different from a human soldier. The latter knows that they have a very real chance of dying. That is sacrifice. This does not apply to dogs. They work for a treat and a little affection. They are not aware of the real danger they are in, like sheep being led to a slaughterhouse. And there is nothing wrong with this. If these dogs are so loved by the military, I am certain that soldiers would be more than happy to pay for their K-9 comrades' transportation. Seriously, America's obsession with dogs is frighting. Air Bud is one thing, but giving dogs expensive military luxuries and honors is terrifying.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
    • Jessica

      Mike please beg God never to be in danger in my presence...cause I would definetely save a dog than saving you.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
      • Tim

        agree!!!

        January 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
      • Nadia

        Well said-

        January 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Steve

      You, are a heartless piece of shit. These dogs defend you, you asshole. Just like the troops the stand beside, or the police officers that they serve with, or those who crawl through rubble after a disaster. Shame on you

      January 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply
    • Craig

      Maybe...just maybe...when a military dog has saved your life you'll see things a bit more clearly. Yes, they probably don't know about Life and Death, but they understand a lot more than you give them credit for, and they willingly sacrifice themselves. Ask my friend Denny, who's alive today because his dog jumped on a grenade in 'Nam. Maybe he can convince you.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • Wendy

      What makes you think that dogs are so stupid. They don't need treats to be trained and they do knowingly risk their lives to save others. They know of danger and death. The sad part is that they didn't choose to go into the military. Humans make that choice willingly. I don't think it's right to have innocent animals fight mens wars, but if they're going to subject them to that then they should give them every chance they can to have a good life once they're retired. Especially since they save so many human lives that would otherwise be lost. ALL life is valuable.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Reply
    • Name

      Mike, I agree with you! Dogs are not humans and therefore should not be treated like humans. It simply isn't fair to a dog to be treated like us. They do not think like we do, and if **trained** correctly, they will be your best friend and a value to your life on the battlefield. After the war is over, if the dog is still alive, you should adopt it if you would like. These same people who are ridiculing you are the ones that will take an unhealthy dog to the vet and let the vet kill the dog due to "compassion". We don't do that to humans, so they need to quit rationalizing dogs as humans as well. And Jessica, you are worthless and I hope it is you that is in need of life saving help and the paramedics go and help the dog a few feet away instead and watch as you bleed out. Sickening to see you defend the life of a dog over a human! Just stupid!

      January 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • JF

        @Name... I didnt realize a paramedic was trained to treat an animal

        January 6, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Michael

      Mike, I usually post using that name as well, but I changed it to my full name so as not to be confused with a piece of garbage like you.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • Majestic_Lizard

      Mike sound like the kind of person who tortures animals.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • S. Oakes

      Have you ever spent time around a dog in a dangerous situation? I have and I can tell you they do fear getting hurt and or killed. I can also tell you that a dog is more likely to save your ass than I am even if they knew and understood your possition. That is why they deserve better. They do not care if you like them or they like you. If you are in trouble and a dog can help they most likely will.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
    • Cattsho

      I wish people like you were the one who sniff the bomb instead of the dogs. how about that??

      January 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Reply
    • Frangible

      Some people are worth less than a dog. You sir, are one of them.

      January 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  28. Janelle

    When I was in Afghanistan, a dog handler would walk by and you could see an instant change in all the servicemembers who happened to be nearby. People would sheepishly approach the handler and ask to pet them, or would stare, often not even aware they were doing it. Military working dogs, especially overseas, conjure up feelings of home, loved ones, and safety. These dogs are not only a comfort to people during some of the darkest times of their service, but they serve in some of the hardest capacities that soldiers can and deserve the same respect and treatment as their human counterparts.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
    • Name

      No they do not! They deserve to be treated like good dogs! Not like humans and not given the same respect and treatment to boot! Soldiers volunteer their lives for their country and that is worthy of everybodies respect and more. Dogs are simply selected, then trained. Yes, they are a comfort, but we aren't talking about a f*#king daycare here, we are talking about badass soldiers who put their lives on the line everyday who don't need to be comforted by a working military dog in a war zone. To say that soldiers need to get treated like a dog is unbelievable coming from a fellow soldier. I'm not saying treat the dogs badly, but you should never mistake the Patriotism of a fellow Human Soldier for the training of a military dog. And yes, I was a soldier in the United States Army – Ranger!

      January 6, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
      • Frangible

        Funny, I work with a retired Ranger who's a dog lover and would probably want to punch you in the face if you said that in front of him, and yet you say that as if you represented a greater whole. According to your logic, a human draftee isn't worthy of respect, either. Go say that to some WWII vets who were drafted, it will be amusing to watch the YouTube video of an 80 year old guy punching you in the face.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
      • Phoenixman

        Where in the article does it say to treat these canines like humans? The Pentagon themselves estimate each dog saves 150 lives, on average, during their tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. 500-600 dogs over there, thats a lot of soldiers coming home. Many of those dogs have spent just as many tours as the human soldier has. I was with a canine unit in Vietnam. Over 3,000 military canines were euthanized or turned over to the ARVN forces when we left there – a fate worse than euthanization most likely. Treat them like a veteran who served this country....give them a life after a dedicated service to this country.....thats all.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • And

      Janelle & Name. Your comments are both correct. Janelle speaking to the emotional and Name to the realism of it all. Still, you both are right. Peace.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  29. Babs

    Spell dog backwards.....I thnk that says it al l!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  30. Willowrib

    Wow, not treating a living breathing dog as a soldier? There are robots who work along side these dogs to diffuse bombs that are treated with more respect than this. Hell there Is a robot who is a sergeant! I want to see a dog be decorated like that!

    January 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Reply
    • kevthegerman

      they are retard. go do some reading.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • Flame

      Actually, there is a ranked dog that once served in the military. He's called Sergeant Stubby, was in the 102nd Infantry and 26th (Yankee) Division during World War 1, has 3 service strips, medal of the battle of Verdun (French Medal), and many other rewards; Possibly the most decorated dog that has ever served in the US Military ;)

      January 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  31. Dennis

    Estimates say that dogs saved 10000 lives in Vietnam. The Viet Cong hated them so much they placed bounties on them.
    Yes, they were left behind. Not only because of the cost, but the WHO claimed they could be diseased. The military called it the "practical" thing to do. Make your own conclusions, but I say it's a disgrace.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
    • WeDon'tMatter

      Some of the dogs in Vietnam could not be brought back, the patrol dog with our team was a killer, he could smell a difference between Americans and Vietnamese a long way off. Saved our butts from several ambushes and if the handler let the dog go to sniff out a Vietcong soldier all you would hear is some growling, screaming and crying and the dog would return with a body part in its mouth to show his victory. A dog like that would not be allowed back in this country.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Reply
      • Frangible

        Then neither should the humans, killer.

        January 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
      • WeDon'tMatter

        Over 58,000 didn't, pathetic McDonald's fed, freedom sucking, leech.

        January 7, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  32. Ken

    I'm divorced and my dog died a few years ago. I miss my dog more than my ex-wife. Your dog will be loyal for life and that's more than most guys can say about a wife.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
    • AK

      I certainly miss my deceased cats more than my cheating, gouging ex-husband.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Reply
  33. Forthedogs

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Retired-Military-Working-Dog-Assistance-Organization/232493850144817

    Check out this nonprofit. They are trying to help this cause!
    http://www.rmwdao.org

    January 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  34. Woof Woof

    If you want to sign the petition for this bill or even just check this bill out go to this Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MilitaryWorkingDogReclassification

    Lisa Phillips has been working very hard with Sen. Jones to get this bill drafted and passed. Check it out!

    January 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  35. jpf

    What's the difference between these K-9 soldiers and K-9 Police Officers. K-9 Police have their own badge, they are treated as an officer's partner, and when they are killed in action, they receive a full honors burial just as their human counterparts. They sure aren't treated as surplus equipment. It's high time Congress wakes up to the fact that these K-9 soldiers have had many dollars and hours of training, just as the human soldiers, and should be treated with the same respect.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Reply
    • Country Doc

      Typically, shooting a police canine will also result in elevated charges over and above animal abuse (one reason for being made an officer).

      January 7, 2012 at 12:02 am | Reply
  36. GMO

    Auburn University is currently training and has in service in war zones several dogs who's job is to sniff out IED's and warn our soldiers of the danger. Given that these dogs have increased the detection rate of IEDs in the area they are servicing from 50% to 80%, they deserve to be called something other than equipment don't you think?

    January 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
    • Nona Yaron

      If a police dog is considered an officer, then a war dog should be considered a soldier.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • Kathy Friedenreich

      Absolutely agree and support Auburn's contribution. War Eagle!

      January 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  37. hollander

    It saddens me that America so often looks at everything as a commodity. It does not matter what is the right thing to do, just what is the cheapest. Too much trouble to bring home animals who have saved American lives, too expensive to keep cattle on grass, too much effort to slaughter animals humanely, this horse is too old to race, sent it to Mexico to be made into dog food. We pretend it does not happen, but when forced to confront the fact that we are so casual with living creatures, we say "this is wrong!". Then we hear the response, "you are too emotional" and the old "they are just animals", or here, "they are equipment". We should live up to our responsibilities. But who am I kidding, Americans live in a disposable society-look around-our relationships are disposable, our children are disposable, our environment is disposable. Why should I be surprised that these brave dogs are disposable. This is depressing.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  38. Dennis

    If a dog saved my life, there wouldn't be an army big enough that could make me leave it behind to die.I don't care how much it costs. That would destroy my dignity for life.

    January 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Reply
    • DogsBestFriend

      What would you do to the Small ARMY?

      January 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      You know when we pulled out of Vietnam we left all the army dogs there. They were not taken out with the other troops. It is one of the most appalling things this country has ever done. This was under the Gerald Ford administration; absolutely disgusting. Most of them were probably eaten by the Vietnamese after serving the USA loyally.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Reply
      • Mike

        Not likely; there are people in the North who eat dog meat, but Southerners do not. My relatives back in VN keep dogs (and love, needless to say), as do many others.

        Discrimination is galling.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • John Foster

      Couldn't agree more...well said

      January 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  39. DogsBestFriend

    Don't you think its TIME we give the CHILDREN of every Burger cow a pension based on their Parents Sacrifice to keep US alive?

    January 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Reply
  40. Tim

    I was a MWD handler and I deployed to Iraq with my K9 Partner twice. These dogs are irreplaceable and ever soldier out there appreciates them. I adopted my partner after he retired and had to pay $1000 to ship him from Alaska to Texas, but it was well worth it to show my appreciation to him for his dedication to me and his service. All these dogs are heroes and save countless lives and deserve our love and respect

    January 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  41. Char646

    I can't believe they were ever left behind. Especially in vietnam, of the ones that weren't euthanized I have a sick feeling in my stomach I know what happened to them. Let's do what's right, treat them like the sentient creatures they are, bring'em home.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Reply
  42. sunny lovetts

    Some here would rather see a ally dog survive than an "enemy" combatant. Disgusting. Humanity > animals.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
    • Char646

      ummm..humans are animals too, and we are all earthlings. And I wonder if you're smart enough to realize how biased your statement is.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
    • duh

      You are f'in retarded...human life has only as much worth as it earns...I know many dogs that are more honorable than many people.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
    • isntitgreat

      Sunny if it came between you and my dog start writing your will. How's that grab ya.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • Corey

      My dog is more important to me than any of you. And if it came between him and you I would choose him.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  43. Don

    Bringing dogs to war is another word for animal cruelty.It's one thing for a brainwashed young man to go to war, but they should leave the innocent animals out of it.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
    • Michael

      You think that soldiers are brainwashed young men? And that it is animal cruelty if the dog wants to be there with his owner, and doesn't desert him when he dies? You sir, are an ignorant piece of work. You should have more respect for the men and women in our military, and that the dogs save lives.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
  44. Carmen

    Bring them home. They should be reclassified as soldiers and brought home.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  45. Jw

    To get a better understanding of the bond between soldier and dog all one has to do is read the story of British soldier Liam Tasker and his K9 partner Theo from March 2011. Shortly after Cpl Tasker was killed in a firefight in Afganistan Theo suffered a siezure and passed as well. Broken heart? BTW The Brits award medles to K9's

    January 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  46. charlie

    Is there any petitions around which I can sign to help promote this change of classification needed to elevate war dogs from equipment to "K-9 members of the armed forces" and provide a way for the Defense Department to honor the dogs with official medals?

    January 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  47. Me

    The very least the government could do is bring these dogs back home. Reclassify them and get them home. They should receive re-training, therapy, and veterinary care as well or be adopted to people who are willing to provide this for them. And I'll bet there are plenty of people who would do so. Kudos to President Clinton for passing a law allowing them to be adopted. Now let's hope the current group of bozo lawmakers can do the right thing.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  48. Derrick

    Interesting that this article doesn't ask the question of whether or not its morally right to put dogs in harm's way for a human conflict.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  49. Brian

    Fact Check: The first recorded use of dogs by the United States Army was during the 2nd Seminole War, and not as previously thought the Spanish American War. 33 cuban-bred bloodhounds were bought at a cost of several thousand dollars and 5 handlers were used by the US Army to track the seminole indians and the runaway slaves they were harboring, in the swamps of western Florida and Louisana. At the time, there were a few petitions filed and recorded with the United States Congress, by the Quakers living in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana, strongly protesting the use of these bloodhounds by General Zachary Taylor against the Seminole Indians in the Florida War.

    Also, there is Sallie the War Dog who fought with her regiment (11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry) during the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War. There is a statue of Sallie in Gettysburg National Park at the base of the 11th PVI Monument.

    Sallie, a brindel bull terrier, joined the regiment as a puppy in the early days of the war. Through it all, she provided a source of comfort, pride, and inspiration for her fighting comrades. Sallie would hold her position on the line and bark fiercely at the enemy. One thing was clear; a bond of unconditional love and loyalty existed between Sallie and the men.

    At Gettysburg, the gallant little dog became separated from her unit in the confusion of the first day's battle. Refusing to pass through the Rebel lines, Sallie returned to her unit's former position atop Oak Ridge, staying among her fallen comrades, licking wounds of the injured and watching over lifeless bodies. Days later, after the Confederates retreated from the field, she was found weakened and malnourished, amidst the dead and debris. A compassionate soldier recognized her and returned Sallie to her unit. No doubt, the reunion was joyful!

    Miraculously Sallie had avoided being shot at Gettysburg, but on May 8, 1864, the same day Captain Keenan was killed; she was shot in the neck by a minie ball. After being examined at the field hospital, a surgeon pronounced she would live but the bullet could not be removed. After a few days recuperation at the hospital, she returned to the unit with the painful and annoying wound, eventually becoming a battle scar. Upon reporting for "active duty" she felt it necessary to tear the seat out of the pants of a young soldier from another unit running away from the battle line as he crossed along the back of the "Old 11th."

    Fatefully, Sallie was in her usual position on February 6, 1865, at Hatcher's Run, Virginia, when a bullet struck her in the head, killing her. Heartbroken over the loss of their beloved mascot, the men buried her on the filed of battle under heavy enemy fire.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • meow

      I am not crazy about dogs however I do appreciate watching those beautiful shepard dogs. I think they are remarkable in nature.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  50. MIT

    I LOVE this story! Some dogs are more intelligent than some humans

    January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Reply
    • GoRemote

      We all are...........

      January 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
    • Chuck

      If only they could figure out how to use a keyboard and mouse.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  51. lulz

    surprise there is no mention in this article of sergeant stubby in this article. the WW1 pit bull that is the only dog to ever achieve a military rank, meat 3 presidents and outed a German spy on the battlefield. these animals save lives in many cases and deserve a welcome home as well.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • Gene

      Meet, meet not meat

      January 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Reply
      • Joey

        Really? Your going to correct someones spelling when you clearly know what they are trying to say? Your a loser.

        January 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • kude

        Actually, I thought it was just a clever pun...

        January 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • Guest

        maybe, Gene....maybe.

        January 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • lulz

      yeah, I know. unfortunately there is no "edit" button.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Reply
  52. Bobby

    K-9s rule!

    January 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  53. Dog day

    Nature has been cruel to give most animals feelings like love and loyalty, because we oh-so-evolved-humans disregard them as we wish.

    January 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  54. Brad

    I think that these dogs should also recieve retirement benefits, such as veterinary care, etc. It is not right that we can use them, and have them risk their lives for us, and not treat them as if they were REAL veterans. They get messed up in the line of duty for OUR benefit, then we are responsible for taking care of them. Heck they spend tens of thousands of dollars to train them. They should receive benefits, and I don't care what it costs to Joe Taxpayer. FYI, I AM Joe Taxpayer before anyone criticizes that statement.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
    • lulz

      I have to agree with you brad. these canines should receive life time veterinary care for the people that take these animals in after they return from battle. 100% would not mind my tax dollars at all going to something like that.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Reply
    • Kat

      I think (hope) few people would disagree with you. The cost of retirement benefits would be extremely marginal in scope of the entire defense budget, and it is the right thing to do, and it would also elevate the US in the eyes of our allies and other countries. There's a lot of win for very little cost.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Reply
    • Jerome Horowitz

      You are exactly right

      January 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • cg

      Brad you are so right;these dogs save many lives in a war zone and I don't want to hear the naysayers that are deficit is to large to do this.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Reply
      • David Johnson

        I would be willing to pay into a fund to care for K-9 vets over and above my current taxes. The article says each saves, on average, 150 human lives. I say the dogs have well earned lifetime care.

        January 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  55. kathy

    Service means service whether with 2 paws or 4, they should all be thanked

    January 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • kathy

      Oh by the way hahahahaha I am a police office who trains K9's I hope my dog has a chance to run across you, I am sure he has a special place to put his teeth.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
      • Rick

        Same here.....I have two Malinois that would love to shake hands with you......... :)

        January 6, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  56. Salahuddin

    안녕 Check out theruggedgent(dot)com for some great articles.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  57. Ron Aiello

    Congressman Jones is also the congressman who had a resoltion passed by congress and signed into law authoring a National War Dog Monument to be establsihed in the Washing ton, DC area.
    He has been an outstanding supporter of our Military Working Dogs for many years we(USWDA) do thank him.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  58. sielingfan

    Wow, so much hate for Proctor. All he did was explain the law in an interview.... no wonder the military doesn't like talking to the press.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  59. Deedie

    Always loved dogs. Still grieve my G.Shep.mix 22 yrs. Gone. How about service cats?

    January 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply
    • Rich

      The US tried service cats in WWII, but the enemy kept distracting them with lasers.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
      • Guest

        well done, sir

        January 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  60. servanne woodward

    We progress ever so slowly and we are finally admitting that animals are not machines . I am so happy that arrangements are made to bring those courageous dogs back and let's finally give them the recognition and the care they deserve. They put their lives on the line for us.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  61. Ds2cents

    Thank you, CNN, for reporting on this. If you believe that dogs are not equipment, please Google ""stop military war dog euthanasia program"" and consider lending your support.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  62. Boomer in Mo

    Great story. But, World War II dogs who were brought back from the Philippines were infected with earlichiosis and it got into the U.S. I've had that nasty disease and my husband has had it twice. It is transmitted by ticks, with deer the wildlife reservoir. It is fatal 10 percent of the time. Our dogs get two weeks of antibiotics every fall to be sure they are not harboring it although we use tick preventive on them 12 months a year. So, the dogs need to be checked to be sure they are not brining an exotic disease into the U.S. If I did not have three dogs already, I'd be looking to adopt one of the military dogs.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • Kat

      Quarantine should take care of that. It was standard for all pets shipped to Hawaii from anywhere up until fairly recently. I don't think it would be difficult for the military to implement.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply
  63. J

    So military dogs are just like military humans. Once of no more use, they are discarded. What a great country.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
    • David Johnson

      It is a great country. It is not a perfect country but it is a great one. After WWII, the USA rebuilt Germany and Japan rather than push down the vanquished like was down after WWI. Which other country would have done this? It is now unthinkable that Germany or Japan would ever want to make war with the USA even if they were capable of doing so.

      I am so tired of people who nitpick the USA's imperfections. No person or country is perfect. I have no doubt that overall the USA is good. When its people stop believing so, the USA will cease to be good because people will be cynical and think everything is BS so why bother trying to be good. If we as a people believe the USA is good, the people will tend to do the things that will make it good. I firmly believe this.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
      • Wrapping Paper

        Well said, good sir.

        January 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  64. frsi

    Thanks to Clinton for siging the bill allowing service dogs to be adopted – what happened in VietNam was a tragedy.
    As to the current war dogs, I really don't care what it takes – just get them back to the US and find them homes so they can live out their (all too short) lives in peace. They deserve no less.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  65. wow

    comparing a dog to a truck?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! What the fark is wrong with the military? Those dogs have courage, are always down to work, and have saved the lives of their brothers. How could they do this to them???? It is NOT like leaving a truck behind, a piece of metal, plastic and rubber – not a living, breathing war hero. I am floored. I had NO clue this happened. I am so glad this was posted on CNN.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • KC

      Thank you. As I kept reading the article I kept thinking in the back of my mind, "really is he comparing a dog to a truck, or a warranty, really"? Where is his heart?

      January 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
    • Sgt U

      As a military member in contact with dog-handlers I can say one thing, the Marines who serve with military working dogs love their dogs. They spend countless hours them. It's the policy that needs to change and the military doesn't control the policies, we just abide by our orders. It's up to congress to change this. So, next time you want to make a rude remark about the Marines and Soldiers sacrificing their lives for you, make sure you get a clue first.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
      • Elizabeth

        I'm pretty sure the original poster here was NOT in any way criticizing the brave marines and soldiers who serve as MWD handlers. The military leaders most certainly do create and control many policies. So by "military" as a whole, I think the poster was disappointed at the military policy that classifies MWDs as equipment and abandons them overseas like old trucks.

        January 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  66. Bruce

    I think the United States should not considered them as a piece of equipment, they are living animals, loyal and loving. You just have to own one to understand, I did. If I could I would pay for any animal left behind by the military myself to bring him or her home. Its about time we do something about this and not just considered them as equipment to be discarded when they can no longer serve in the military.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  67. Marlin Perkins

    The more people I meet , the more I like my dogs. Man is such a beast. We are the higher spceies an djet we treat hose who depend on us as equipment. Those dogs are heroes jsut as th esoldiers are and ask ANY soldier who served with a dog if they were just dogs. I wish we could shoot gang members rather than strays. Strays cost less becuase they eat less and actually serve a purpose to man, Ask any blind or special need person. AND They don;t talk back or rob you like a person..

    January 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • David Johnson

      The was a documentary on National Geographic called "And Man Created Dog". I particularly found fascinating is that human civilization itself would not have been possible without the dog. I highly recommend this documentary.

      January 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  68. k9luver

    Proctor–as in "proctologist"? you have your head up your arse!

    January 6, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  69. MMhurst

    Those dogs aren't human beings and I respect the difference between them and our men and women in uniform. If those canines are protecting our nations most valuable asset then forget what you think about dogs in general for a minute. We should show the proper respect and honor of our men and women in uniform by giving dignity to our nation's service animals in uniform by natural and common sense extension.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  70. Chuck

    Dogs are great.

    I'd like to see you get a cat to parachute out of an airplane.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • MikeSense

      Look closer at the life vest on the dog jumping out of the aircraft.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
    • Guest

      See Rich's laser comment above.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
  71. jan wheeler

    Most of the time, dogs are better than people.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  72. Thomas

    Go to a Veterans Hospital. Sometimes you get lucky and see a Service Dog walking the halls and clinics. It is really nice
    to watch alot of the older veterans light right up and just pet and talk with the dog/handler. It is really great to see.

    One time I was walking along not feeling to well after some news and this Golden Retreiver just slowly nudged me into the wall and kind of leaned into me. I had no choice but to stop and look into those eyes, and just for a few moments smile. If presceince is a job requirement; dogs have it.

    January 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • Melissa

      Wonderful comment Thomas

      January 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  73. Lisa

    They're not "equipment" yet Proctor continues to compare them to a "truck". Of course, Proctor is a prime example of why so many pets – working or otherwise – just get dumped at shelters or turned loose to fend for themselves - these animals are merely "equipment" to be disposed of when no longer useful. Also sounds a lot like the way we treat returning veterans.

    Go Rep Jones and all the others working to change the military canine's classification!!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  74. Bud

    IF.. you've placed your own life in the eyes, ears, or nose of a dog, THEN...you understand. Unfortunately, Generals and Senators DON'T!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  75. TED

    Dogs are heroes and should be treated right. The Pentagon wastes so much money every year on procurement cost overruns to the vendors, but then turns its back on its veterans – men, women and dogs alike. Dogs need to be helped to a good retirement just like men and women who have put it all on the line.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  76. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

    Dogs are not just good at military operations. They are man's best friend and I can prove it. Lock your dog outside for a couple of hours and go somewhere. When you get back, your dog will wag his tail like crazy and be happy to see you. Now lock your wife outside for a couple of hours and go somewhere.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Sunflower

      That's the funniest thing I've read in weeks!!!! Good point though......

      January 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  77. EBF

    Dogs should not be in the military. Men and women sign up to fight wars, dogs aren't given a choice!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Terry

      Sorry, you are very wrong. When we took the first dogs into Viet Nam there were many high ranking folks who thought the mission would be less than stellar. The lives of hundreds of soldiers were saved because of our dogs.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
    • wow

      Yeah, you are wrong. Dogs are here to work for man. It is what they do. Modern dogs actually suffer from depression because they're not doing the jobs they were bred to do. A German Shepard is no doubt a war dog. Also a family dog and many other things – but they're great at their job and they will gladly die for their owners ("handlers"), as any good dog should. And it is not odd to say that, this is a dogs honor. They're amazing for this reason (and many others). Does not matter what you look like, how much money you have, what you drive – etc. If you bond with a dog, they will love you and protect you to the death no matter what. It has been proven time and time again. They are workers, it is what they were meant to do. SOOOOOOO.. end rant.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • Kat

      Dogs co-evolved with humans and have, until recently, been our instrumental partners while hunting. Putting a dog in harms way, in modern warfare is definitely morally questionable, but I'd argue that they complement and help the survivability of soldiers, whether it be for bomb sniffing, finding trapped people, or just being extra eyes/nose/ears for humans. Most of all though, I can see how dogs would help a solider get through the everyday trauma of war, by just being the empathic beings they are (and I know, because the fierce love of a dog got me through an extremely abusive childhood).

      January 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • V

      EBF, dogs aren't given a choice about NOT going either. If a dog could express a choice about such matters, perhaps the dog wouldn't want to be living as a household pet. Perhaps the dog – like some humans – would choose to do this. As it is, we don't have the ability to ask, so we humans make the best decisions we can based on the personality and strengths of individual animals. Some dogs very much thrive in this type of work, just as some humans do. Would they "choose" it? Who knows? But we also don't know that they would "choose" any other situation we place them in. We're entrusted with a great responsibility to attend to the feedback animals give us, since in the end, we make the choices about their lives.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  78. TheLord

    Dogs have got to be one of the greatest gifts that humans ever recieved

    January 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • KC

      Absolutely

      January 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  79. KLDGBB

    I think NOT considering military dogs as equipment and giving them a ride home is the very least we can do for them.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Reply
  80. joerod

    The more people I meet, the more I love my German Shepard.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  81. InForAPenny

    $2000 to ship a dog home in a crate on any available cargo space, which as the article say is readily available, is outrageous!! I am sure it would not entail $1 extra being spent. Only the bureaucracy has a cost to it. Bring the dogs home and adopt them out with a months meds and medical history for the dog. The new owner accepts responsibility after that. No new law is needed as that is just more money spent when our Congress is already failing to do their damn job!!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • Jeremy

      The $2000 is the government rate for the crate, like the $65 hammer and $750 toilet seat.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
      • Lisa

        So true!!!!

        January 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
      • Country Doc

        No, unfortunately $2K is probably pretty standard for shipping (my sheperd, in 1973, was $800 from Munich to LA). However, military cargo planes fly all over the world and are usually not sufficiently full that they couldn't take on 250 lbs of dog and cage). Government at its finest......

        January 7, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  82. charlie

    Love dogs in general. As a Viet Nam combat vet, I saw these brave dogs work. They should be honored. Watch the movie Rain, might help "neanderthals" appreciate these brave dogs .

    January 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  83. rchighflyer

    A military K-9 is a member of a team….to his human counterpart he is invaluable for the tasks that they do for the units they are assigned to. For the U.S military to leave any team member behind should be considered criminal…….no military member should be left behind and the K-9 member of the team is a military member that also will die for his country if necessary. An old VN era dog handler……..

    January 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  84. Rufoscoe

    It works the other way too. After the Knightsbridge bombings in London, a cop was lying on the ground with his legs blown off and he was hugging his dog who was also badly injured. The dog died of its injuries. It will make the lot of the dog handlers in military service a whole lot easier knowing that after service, their animals are treated humanely.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  85. Mike hunt

    Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows that dogs are more human than most the people who comment on CNN articles are. There is only one thing classified as mans best friend, and its the dog. It's no coincidence that dog spelled backwards is god. They are truly a gift and blessing to man kind and should be treated as such.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • anchorite

      Actually it IS a coincidence that dog spelled backwards is god, you just insulted yourself by insulting people who comment on CNN articles, and the US miltiary as deliberately run over and killed thousands of dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan, for fun.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
      • Timmy

        Are these the same soldiers that kill iraqi civilians for fun? Source or it didn't happen. And while your at it, tits or GTFO

        January 6, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
      • sielingfan

        he saw it on Generation Kill

        January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
      • bwahaha

        Wait, you mean to tell me Soldiers are the only people that have run over animals because it's "fun" to them? You don't think anyone else in the world has done that? Ever? Don't try to make service members look bad when it happens in all cultures around the world. Yeah it's sick, and I have seen terrible things happen to animals all over the world and it's terrible, but don't try to broadly generalize our service members, that's like saying your entire family is made up of 1 toothed, imbred, misinformed yokels...although it might be true I don't want to generalize your entire family based on you.

        January 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • sielingfan

      Also, Anchorite spelled backwards is "Pinecone up his butt."

      January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • Saboth

      I'll never understand how people aren't "dog people" or think it's ok to eat/kill/harm dogs. Studies show some dogs are as intelligent and understanding as a human 2 year old. Dogs have helped mankind flourish over the years, whether it was herding livestock (invaluable) to protecting camps. Today, they act as more protection for the home and companions for humans, as they sense our despair and help us deal with it. Honestly...dogs provide unquestioned love and loyalty. Can you say the same for many humans?

      January 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
      • Jeremy

        "I'll never understand how people aren't "dog people" or think it's ok to eat/kill/harm dogs."

        Ask any Hindu what they had for dinner, and I guarantee you the answer will never be beef. Ask any Jew or Muslim the same question, and the answer will never be pork. In our culture the slaughter and consumption of cattle and swine is perfectly normal, just as the slaughter and consumption of cats and dogs is perfectly normal in many parts of Asia.

        January 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • Timmy

        If you study the history of the connection between man and dog, going back to the early days of our interaction with wolves, you would see that we owe our direct evolution as a culture and our survival as herders, farmers, and hunters to the dog.

        January 6, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
      • Sunflower

        Native Americans also bred dogs not just as pack anaimals but also as a source of food, when their normal sources were depleted or scarce...

        January 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
      • Timmy

        @Sunflower how that work out for them?

        January 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
      • VladT

        The difference is that Jewish people and Muslims, for all intents and purposes, do not keep pigs as pets and companions, so your comparison fails. We don't eat pork because it is religous, not because my blind grandmother has "Wilbur" walking around the house

        January 7, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • John

      hahaha your name is mike hunt. My friend's real name is that... YES he was ridiculed in school his whole life

      January 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • Boomer in Mo

      Mike, the dog and god thing only works in English. You do know that, don't you?

      January 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
      • sielingfan

        Not if you worship the Mexican Tribal god, Orrep.

        January 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • Timmy

        Yes I do know that. And it's English speaking countries that tend to hold dogs in higher regard than other countries. For example, keeping them as pets and not eating them.

        January 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  86. Rob

    It shouldn't even be a debatable point and it's shameful that it is – the dogs should come home with their unit. No question.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
    • sielingfan

      I think by and large they do - the only question is when they get retired overseas. Which, I agree, shouldn't even be an issue - I just don't wanna project the image that we're leaving ALL our dogs over there. Only a select few are so unlucky.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • InForAPenny

      Please consider that not all units come home. Many military working dogs are assigned to units that are permanent in overseas locations. Military police use dogs on all posts. The military member may only serve two or 3 years at that assignment. The dog is there a lot longer and may "retire" while the unit is still active. Not all dogs are in war zones where the entire unit comes home.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  87. Cindy

    God Bless our solidiers and God Bless the dogs that work along side them to protect our beloved country and everyone in it. In fact DOG is God, spelled backwards... all my love and many warm thoughts to those who protect and serve ..and especially all of the special fur kids.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Jeremy

      I believe very strongly in Dog. Dog Bless America!!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  88. Cassandra

    Its funny that it isn't mentioned in this article that the founder of the nonprofit organization "Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization" isn't mentioned in this article. Founder Lisa Phillips is the one that got Jones to draft the bill. It is her bill. She has been working with him long and hard to get this done. Also Rachel Lee forgot to mention that she is on the board of directors for Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization. Lisa Phillips even has a website and facebook page with petitions on it to help get this bill passed and make it so that tax payers won't have to foot the bill on the retired MWDs medical expenses!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  89. MrScott

    Ask anyone who has a pet or an animal as a co-worker and they will tell you they are your best friend.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  90. Rufoscoe

    All the points in this article are right on. Man has a long history with working dogs. In military service, the dogs do not get a choice. They do not know it and it does not influence their bond and devotion. We make the choice to go to war, and we make the choice to bring animals into this. With that choice comes a responsibility – to return the dog to the States and to try and place the dog in a loving home. If the stats are true, a $2,000 airfare is peanuts to 150 human lives saved. It's also 'wooden dollars' if military transports are flying at less than capacity. With all the lunacy surrounding military spending and questionable defense decisions, taking care of war dogs should be a no-brainer – everyone benefits.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  91. sielingfan

    My dog wanted to enlist, but I told him no. When I caught him hanging around the recruitment office I had him neutered.... now he wants to get a liberal arts degree.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Rufoscoe

      This is pretty darn funny! (clever too)

      January 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Jim-Fed in DC

      That comment made my day-especially when I emailed it to my Liberal Arts college student son!

      January 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  92. Carole Clarke

    Equipment does not bleed, it does not groan or whimper with pain when injured. I can see leaving mechanical or electrical equipment behind, to be destroyed so the enemy can't use it or in working condition so an ally can but in too many parts of the world a dog is either unclean or meat. That's not what America is about. We don't eat dogs, we keep them as pets or even "employees". The President can issue a n executive order to correct the war dogs status.

    January 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  93. ex-navy

    I've never worked with dogs while in the military but can easily see how bonds could be formed with these animals.
    They are also very valuable durring their service. They have worked for and deserve the trip home and the care that follows.
    That is one use of my tax dollars i do not regret. take some money away from no bid contracts and over charged contractor bills and take care of these animals that have done their job.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • SisterSquirrel

      Couldn't agree more. Gerry Proctor sounds like a first class A-Hole.

      These dogs are more than welcome to my tax dollars for their care and medical attention when they retire from the military.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • Sandman

      Well said. When I come home at night it's my dog that greets me. Not the wife.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  94. Charles

    My dog told me that he approves of this article. He also said that walking around in a complete circle before sitting down is critical to maintaining situational awareness.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply
    • sielingfan

      We could learn a lot about intelligence gathering from dogs. Maybe if George Bush had sniffed Saddam Hussein's crotch, we wouldn't have gotten involved in such a long, drawn-out war.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • J. Michael Boteler, PhD

        sielingfan, love your leavity. Much like my own! Made my day

        jmb

        January 6, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  95. Alex

    Dogs should be treated with the same respect and offered the same transport home as military personnel. If they save lives, we should ensure theirs are saved, too. You can judge the true character of a man (and, in this case, the military) by the way they treat their animals. It's time to step up and do the right thing.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  96. miamigrrrl

    Wow, a Republican congressman doing something useful.

    January 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  97. Linda Hill

    right on brother!

    January 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  98. Dave

    Reminds me of an episode of M*A*S*H when an injured SGT and his dog come into the hospital. The dog has a wound and is worked on, but the SGT makes it very clear that it is not just a dog, that the dog just happens to be a corporal in the US army. Sorry but dogs are soldiers....they do dirty work and not only protect the troops due to their multiple senses that are far more specific than a humans will ever be, but also as a companion. Many army and marine units in Afghanistan and Iraq have had dogs that are strays but hang around camp, many of which develop a bond with and even get brought back to the states. Sorry but dogs are NOT equipment....period!

    January 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • Linda Hill

      If we have never loved an animal, part of our soul is missing.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Reply
    • Jeremy

      I think the rank of a dog is now higher than the handler, i.e. if the handler is an E4, then the dog is classified as an E5. If the dog is given a rank, then it can't be "equipment," can it? That's like saying a tank is a Master Sergeant or an aircraft carrier is a Vice Admiral. If it has rank, it is personnel and should be treated as such.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  99. Hahahahahahahaha

    I shoot stray dogs. Hahahahahahahaha

    January 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • Linda Hill

      Why would you do such a thing. Are you a human or a sub-human. You sound like a neanderthal...excuse me, I didn't mean to insult the neanderthals.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • Rin Tin Tin

      reply to Hahahahahahahahahaha

      u r an idiot!

      January 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      I hope you burn in hell. YOU are a LOSER. But, you knew that.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Phoenixres

      Not to worry folks. Its the anonymity of the internet and the ability to hide behind the monitor like a shield and use the keyboard as a make-believe sword.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
      • Rick

        As a make believe penis

        January 7, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • David

      ypure a screwball if you do shoot them ill bring out the dog packs and take care of your

      youre dog food now for sayong this

      January 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Saboth

      I shoot stray idiots. Better hunker down in a safe area.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
    • WildWoman

      Major A$$H#LE!

      January 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
    • German Shepherds Rock

      The incredible thing about dogs is that a rescue dog would still save you despite your total disregard for the life of the dog that is saving you. You are a cruel, evil person.

      January 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • Robrob

      Troll is obvious.

      January 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  100. Six

    I like dogs. Dogs are cool. Dogs are better than people sometimes...

    January 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • Linda Hill

      Right on, brother.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Reply
    • dt

      Sometimes?

      January 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.