Guest Blog from Lisa Phillips, Founder and CEO of the Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization
Independence Day is one of America’s most celebrated holidays. It is a day to reflect on America's freedom and the wars that were fought, and are still being fought, to keep us free. Many remember our two-legged heroes, but few realize that there are also four-legged heroes who have fought and died for America.
My name is Lisa Phillips, and I was a vet tech in the Army, taking care of our nation's Military Working Dogs (MWDs). During five years of active duty, my passion and love for these animals grew. I saw firsthand the key roles these loyal and dedicated heroes play in keeping America safe. When I was in the process of being medically discharged in 2005, I adopted my first MWD from Lackland AFB: Gizmo A085. I was his vet tech for the previous two years. In 2007, I was able to adopt MWD Bianca W229, also from Lackland.
MWDs are currently classified as equipment by the military. Equipment doesn’t breathe or bleed; dogs are living breathing creatures, not equipment. When their service to our country is completed, they are considered excess equipment and our country's responsibility for them ends. My love for these heroes is what kept me going on my mission to reclassify them and get help with their medical expenses and final transportation after they are retired.
U.S. Representative Walter Jones of (R-NC) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced in Congress the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. This bill has bicameral and bipartisan support to reclassify our MWDs as "canine members of the armed forces" instead of equipment, provide financial help with medical bills after they retire via a non-profit, provide final transportation via donated frequent flyer miles, and decoration or other appropriate recognition to recognize particularly meritorious and courageous military working dogs.
On this Independence Day you can help our MWDs win their independence from being classified the same as a table, a chair or a computer and contact your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act.
More pets are lost on the Fourth of July than any other time of year. It’s a heartbreaking scenario for pet parents, but swift action and major networking can increase the odds that you will be reunited with your cat or dog.
We recently surveyed more than 1,000 households with pets across the country to find out if they had lost a dog or cat in the past five years—and if they did, did they find that pet and where did they look?
Of those pet guardians surveyed, 15 percent had lost a dog or a cat in the past five years, and 85 percent of those lost dogs and cats were recovered.
The study's findings suggest the following are key when recovering a lost pet:
Searching immediately when one knows the pet is lost;
Searching within the neighborhood first through visual searches as well as posters and online; and
Checking local shelters from the first day your pet is lost.
If your pet is lost, it’s important not to panic. Enlist the help of all of your friends and neighbors and hit the streets! Read our extended article on Finding a Lost Pet for more information and helpful hints.
In the spirit of 1776, the year the United States gained independence, a nonprofit organization called Dog Bless You is campaigning to help veterans gain the freedom that comes with obtaining a service dog—and helping homeless animals in the process.
Dog Bless You works with service dog organizations throughout the United States, such as Freedom Service Dogs, Canines for Service and K9s for Warriors. These organizations rescue dogs from animal shelters and train them for our wounded war veterans. And here's how you can help.
Now through the Fourth of July, for every 1,000 likes the Dog Bless You Facebook page gets, the organization will match a U.S. veteran with a new best friend.
In honor of Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, we put out a call for photos of America’s cutest kitties. Well, people, you didn’t disappoint. We received thousands of photos, and every single one featured an irresistible feline.
Voting for your top pick couldn’t have been easy. With that said, the votes have been tallied, and we are happy to announce the top entries.
Congratulations to our three prize winners! You will be receiving your $300 ASPCA Prize Pack, including beautiful cat-themed jewelry from Reeds. Our four runner-ups will be receiving ASPCA message tees!