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."
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.
Yeah, that Republican Representative is such a liberal activist.
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?
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? 🙂
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.
If they want to classify their dogs as animal combatants or something then fine, but giving them awards is a little silly.
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.
Why shouldnt the dogs get medals, if there serving our country and help save lifes, than ya, they should be given medals! you IDIOT!!!!
What's next – will dogs get to vote?
I'd rather have dogs vote before illegal aliens.
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!
Does being a knuckledragger count as having 4 legs?
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.....
I would rather my tax payer money go to bringing our service dogs home then the wasteful spending that occurred in the stimulus plan.
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.
And yet if somebody harms your family dog it's just treated as property. Go figure. Civilians have no rights anymore.
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?
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.
we Should give the CHILDREN of every Burger cow a pension based on their Parents Sacrifice to keep US alive?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I agree with the article. Dogs should be reclassified as "cannon fodder", the same as our human troops in war zones across the world.
You are a t*rd.
"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.
You retired as a Lieutenant???
What, you have a problem with that? Thanks for serving our country OP.
This is a joke!
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?
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.
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.
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.
Mike please beg God never to be in danger in my presence...cause I would definetely save a dog than saving you.
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
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.
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.
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!
@Name... I didnt realize a paramedic was trained to treat an animal
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.
Mike sound like the kind of person who tortures animals.
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.
I wish people like you were the one who sniff the bomb instead of the dogs. how about that??
Some people are worth less than a dog. You sir, are one of them.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Spell dog backwards.....I thnk that says it al l!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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!
they are retard. go do some reading.
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 😉
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.
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.
Then neither should the humans, killer.
Over 58,000 didn't, pathetic McDonald's fed, freedom sucking, leech.
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.
I certainly miss my deceased cats more than my cheating, gouging ex-husband.
Check out this nonprofit. They are trying to help this cause!
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!
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.
Typically, shooting a police canine will also result in elevated charges over and above animal abuse (one reason for being made an officer).
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?
If a police dog is considered an officer, then a war dog should be considered a soldier.
Absolutely agree and support Auburn's contribution. War Eagle!
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.
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.
What would you do to the Small ARMY?
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.
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.
Couldn't agree more...well said
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?
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
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.
Some here would rather see a ally dog survive than an "enemy" combatant. Disgusting. Humanity > animals.
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.
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.
Sunny if it came between you and my dog start writing your will. How's that grab ya.
My dog is more important to me than any of you. And if it came between him and you I would choose him.
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.
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.
Bring them home. They should be reclassified as soldiers and brought home.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
I am not crazy about dogs however I do appreciate watching those beautiful shepard dogs. I think they are remarkable in nature.
I LOVE this story! Some dogs are more intelligent than some humans
We all are...........
If only they could figure out how to use a keyboard and mouse.
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.
Meet, meet not meat
Really? Your going to correct someones spelling when you clearly know what they are trying to say? Your a loser.
Actually, I thought it was just a clever pun...
yeah, I know. unfortunately there is no "edit" button.
Nature has been cruel to give most animals feelings like love and loyalty, because we oh-so-evolved-humans disregard them as we wish.
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.
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.
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.
You are exactly right
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.
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.
Service means service whether with 2 paws or 4, they should all be thanked
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.
Same here.....I have two Malinois that would love to shake hands with you......... 🙂
안녕 Check out theruggedgent(dot)com for some great articles.
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.
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.
Always loved dogs. Still grieve my G.Shep.mix 22 yrs. Gone. How about service cats?
The US tried service cats in WWII, but the enemy kept distracting them with lasers.
well done, sir
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.
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.
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.
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.
So military dogs are just like military humans. Once of no more use, they are discarded. What a great country.
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.
Well said, good sir.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
Proctor–as in "proctologist"? you have your head up your arse!
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.
Dogs are great.
I'd like to see you get a cat to parachute out of an airplane.
Look closer at the life vest on the dog jumping out of the aircraft.
See Rich's laser comment above.
Most of the time, dogs are better than people.
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.
Wonderful comment Thomas
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!!
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!
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.
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.
That's the funniest thing I've read in weeks!!!! Good point though......
Dogs should not be in the military. Men and women sign up to fight wars, dogs aren't given a choice!
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.
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.
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).
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.
Dogs have got to be one of the greatest gifts that humans ever recieved
I think NOT considering military dogs as equipment and giving them a ride home is the very least we can do for them.
The more people I meet, the more I love my German Shepard.
$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!!
The $2000 is the government rate for the crate, like the $65 hammer and $750 toilet seat.
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......
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 .
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……..
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.
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.
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.
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
he saw it on Generation Kill
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.
Also, Anchorite spelled backwards is "Pinecone up his butt."
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?
"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.
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.
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...
@Sunflower how that work out for them?
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
hahaha your name is mike hunt. My friend's real name is that... YES he was ridiculed in school his whole life
Mike, the dog and god thing only works in English. You do know that, don't you?
Not if you worship the Mexican Tribal god, Orrep.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I believe very strongly in Dog. Dog Bless America!!!!
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!
Ask anyone who has a pet or an animal as a co-worker and they will tell you they are your best friend.
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.
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.
This is pretty darn funny! (clever too)
That comment made my day-especially when I emailed it to my Liberal Arts college student son!
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.
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.
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.
Well said. When I come home at night it's my dog that greets me. Not the wife.
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.
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.
sielingfan, love your leavity. Much like my own! Made my day
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.
Wow, a Republican congressman doing something useful.
right on brother!
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!
If we have never loved an animal, part of our soul is missing.
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.
I shoot stray dogs. Hahahahahahahaha
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.
reply to Hahahahahahahahahaha
u r an idiot!
I hope you burn in hell. YOU are a LOSER. But, you knew that.
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.
As a make believe penis
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
I shoot stray idiots. Better hunker down in a safe area.
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.
Troll is obvious.
I like dogs. Dogs are cool. Dogs are better than people sometimes...
Right on, brother.