Dogs have been an important part of military, police and rescue operations for decades. The official US Army K9 Corps was created in 1942. March 13 is officially National K9 Veterans Day. Joseph White, a retired military working dog trainer, originated the idea for the day.
Dogs were first called to duty during World War 1. The United States noticed the Europeans used canines as sentries, message carriers and several other functions.
Private citizen Mrs. Alene Erlanger partnered with the American Kennel Club and a handful of breeders to train the dogs for military use, which became the Dogs for Defense program.
In November 1942, the first Dogs for Defense arrived for duty in North Africa, well trained, but gun shy at first. As the war progressed, Dogs for Defense was unable to keep up with the demand for trained service dogs, so the Remount Branch, Service Installations Divisions took over training.
On National K9 Veterans Day – we salute these brave dogs and their handlers!