America's Military Working Dogs Need Our Help

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 3:15pm

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. 

Add new comment



Samantha Russ

Man is putting their "best friends" in the most dangerous situations.
Anything less than major honors for these brave dog-soldiers is embarrassing.
They are not equipment they are heroes.
Since it is illogical to think of these dogs as equipment, the corollary must be to think of them as soldiers of a different kind. They save lives of those who risk their own.
These dogs are more than just an animal, they are a companion and hero. They need to be given the honor and love just as the humans who are fighting to protect our freedom.

Bev Walther

These dogs are loyal enough to serve their country, why is it that their country isn't loyal enough to care for them afterwards?

Step up and do what is right! They deserve better than to be left behind as useless equipment. They love, have emotional connections with those they work with. These dogs are living, emotional beings, give them the respect they deserve.

Give them the welcome home any member of the armed forces gets!


We need to make a nation wide rescue group for them and raise the money to tranfer them back here and foster them ontill they have homes and all joking aside,some will need speacial help dealing with P.T.S.T I look into what I can and get back to the SPCA

marjorie phillips

dogs r not a thing they deseaver what r other heros get

Christin gaspard

I'm sadden by the fact these four legged soldiers are classified as equipment, they should be honored just the same as any other soldier in the military. They play a valuable role in fighting for our country!!!

Victoria VandeBunte

These dogs are soldiers too and deserve the respect and honor that our human soldiers receive. They save lives, offer companionship, and continually give unconditional love not only for their handler but for the unit they serve. How can anyone think these dogs are just a piece of equipment which needs to be replaced or discarded? They are living, breathing, thinking, emotional animals who deserve to be recognized for their service to our country. Please sign in support The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act.

Lorraine redling

Stop this

Glynda Cone

These dogs deserve much better treatment. They served and gave their all, even their lives to help protect and serve our Country. They should be honored for their service, they did play vital rolls to help save soldiers that might otherwise have died. Please do the right thing by these loyal courageous animals. In fact do the right thing for all kinds animals that have served.

Michelle Docchio

It's hard to believe that these beautiful, hard working and loyal dogs are being used as equipment! They deserve nothing but the best from all their hard work! What a shame!


It breaks my heart to see and hear how we discard living creatures like garbage! I am so disgusted!