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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. 

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Cheryl Noone

I'm sure the soldiers would agree that these dogs are NOT just equipment. It breaks my heart to hear that! My God bless them all!

Janita kilbane

Please retire these working dogs kindly

Daniel

Haven't you guys heard of "Pets For Vets" http://pets-for-vets.com/

Tina

Do tanks get promotions? Do guns earn medals? No. Tanks and guns are equipment, dogs are NOT. In World War I, a dog was so heroic and so beloved that it was not only awarded 3 Service Stripes, Chateau Thierry Campaign Medal,and the Purple Heart, among other awards, he was actually given a rank, and is recognized in the Price of Freedom exhibit at the Smithsonian. Sgt. Stubby is the most famous, but not the first, and certainly not the last canine military hero. After Pearl Harbor, another dog was stripped of his two medals (the Silver Star and the Purple Heart) when someone complained that it demeaned all the men who had received Purple Hearts - and no dog has been so honored since. Please. Ask them. Ask human Purple Heart recipients how many feel they are demeaned because a fellow soldier, one who may well have saved his very life, received one as well. I don't think there is a service man or woman, past, present, or future, who would say they did - regardless of the other soldiers' species. Please. Ask them. And then co-sponsor the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act and help recognize ALL contributors to the war effort. Thank you.

Doreen Schnecke...

These dogs deserve the best! They would lay down their lives just as a soldier would. Please don't treat them as if they weren't living creatures.

Doreen Schnecke...

These dogs deserve the best! They would lay down their lives just as a soldier would. Please don't treat them as if they weren't living creatures.

Lisa

Check out this page if you want more info on how you can help our nation's 4-legged heroes! :)
http://www.rmwdao.org/
and
https://www.facebook.com/MilitaryWorkingDogReclassification

Marilyn Shipley

I'm really outraged to think that the military can (ab)use dogs in this way - and get away with it! Human beings have a lot to answer for. Treat these dogs with the respect they deserve. PLEASE.

Marilyn Shipley

I'm really outraged to think that the military can (ab)use dogs in this way - and get away with it! Human beings have a lot to answer for. Treat these dogs with the respect they deserve. PLEASE.

melinda sims

every dog that is run through the service is put through a program to be trained as a bomb sniffing dog, search and rescue, attack dog, and drug dogs. as soon as they retire they are put through a program in lackland to be adopted. they are given the best care until the point of adoption. they are highly respected dogs who need an actual owner. most of the ssgt's and above keep them, but when they are given more than two dogs, they cannot keep all of them.. if you really want to support these veterans, please consider addoption.

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