Military Dogs, Service Dogs, and a Sergeant Rex Update

by Katherine on April 14, 2012

Let’s kick this post off with an announcement! We are officially half way through our A to Z challenge!!!! M is the 13th letter of the alphabet, and our halfway point to letter, Z, numero 26. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement as we make our way through this daily challenge, for loving me through the daily emails and appearances in your reader or your Triberr feed, and for the continued comments. You’re awesome! As a big thanks, I’d like to announce that we will be doing the second Life with Arie giveaway at the end of the challenge! I’ve worked to put together a super special gift basket for pet lovers everywhere, so stay tuned for more details. I’ll be revealing some of the special items included in the giveaway in posts throughout the rest of the month. Now, onto the alphabet…

black german shepherd training with military handler

Beautiful German Shepherd working with his military handler. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sheila deVera, via "An Honorable German" in Flickr Creative Commons.

M is for military dogs, and dogs in similar fields.

As the proud owner of a German Shepherd Dog, even if her coloration is often viewed as a fault, I have a special place in my heart for military and service dogs, as GSD’s make up a significant number of their population. These dogs are true heroes, and are truly amazing. One of our first posts on Life with Arie was actually about dogs in the military, and discusses the bonds that soldiers have with their dogs, and the debate over dogs as property or as soldiers themselves. One of our more recent posts discussed the plight of Sergeant Rex, a military dog whose former handler was fighting to bring him home with her after he was deemed unfit for service. I’m happy to give you an update, though it’s a little belated: Sergeant Rex can officially become a couch potato and house dog with his handler, Megan Leavey. Check out The Elka Almanac for the details.

German Shepherd poses on police car with partner

This sweet guy works with his Police handler to protect and serve. Photo via JKleeman through Flickr Creative Commons.

One thing that I’ve skipped over some in my talk of military dogs is the discussion of other dogs of armed service, such as K-9 officers. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know the great Shugart family behind a local business here in Georgia, Deceased Pet Care. Sounds morbid, I know, but this establishment is amazing. Atlanta is a very densely populated area, surrounded by outer areas that feature everything from suburbs to farmland. While I don’t like to think about Arie going over the rainbow bridge, when she does, I won’t be able to create a place for her under the shade tree in my back yard, like we did with my childhood companion, Patches. Deceased Pet Care handles pet cremation from your beloved house cat to your gentle horse, as well as a beautiful, respectful, and comforting cemetery for pets that allows pet parents to visit their loved ones long after their gone. They also handle almost all of the K-9 units after their passing, whether still active duty or retired and enjoying their time at home.

K-9 officer grave stone memorial

K-9 officers are getting dignity and recognition for their service after their passing. Photo via mstephens7 through Flickr Creative Commons.

They feature a page on their website devoted to dogs from the police departments in the area, with a K-9 fund to help the public get involved in honoring these furry heroes, a biography written for each dog to show off their achievements and to honor their memory, and a respectful final resting place for these unsung (until now) heroes. If you’ve got a spare moment (and maybe some Kleenex) you should read their wonderful stories. Working with Deceased Pet Care has really opened my eyes to the dogs serving my area, and I feel like I know them all a bit better.

Lately we’ve had a lot of heroic pet stories on the brain, so we’d love to hear yours. Share a link or a story in the comments section with your favorite tales of tails doing amazing things.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Dwyer April 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Great posts on an often overlooked group of service animals.

I don’t have any tales of heroism, but I remember as a recent college grad noticing that our dog sat by the window each day waiting for my younger sister’s school bus to arrive. Very touching.

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Katherine Katherine April 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Thank you for stopping by Cindy! I met a Dalton Dwyer once years ago; I remembered the name because of its uniqueness. It’s interesting to meet another Dwyer! Our childhood dog, Patches, used to wait for my sister and I to get home from school as well. I think all dogs are heroes to the people who love them–just like an older sibling. Thanks for commenting, and I hope to see more of you!

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Jodi April 15, 2012 at 7:45 am

You may or may not know but just recently we had an incident at our rental home. A police dog was involved and was slightly injured by the intruder.

They are true heroes and should be honored as such.

Thanks for sharing Katherine and hang in there, you are on the ‘down hill’ side from here. :-)

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Katherine Katherine April 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hahaha! I actually did read the story of Bobby–Your husband not wanting to tell you about the incident with the police dog is so like how my family would approach me in a similar situation. I’m glad everyone is okay though and that Bobby will pay for his crimes. For those of you who haven’t read the Bobby story, check it out on Jodi’s blog: http://jodistone.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/the-trouble-with-bobby/

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Pup Fan April 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Wonderful post. I especially like the first photo up there – very cool.

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Katherine Katherine April 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Thanks Pup Fan! There are some fantastic photogs from the military on Flickr, and they’re amazing about letting you use their images (Creative commons of course). I always message them to let them know too.

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Jen May 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Thanks for the link (I don’t know how I didn’t see this post! I’m bad at this blogging thing sometimes)

Military dogs was a great choice for “m”! They do a lot of work and don’t necessarily get a whole lot of “official” attention.

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