Did you know that there are more than 2,500 dogs serving in the military and about 700 deployed overseas? What's hard to know is just how many military and war dogs have served over the years, from World War II on, when the US Army K-9 Corps was formed.
Even so, we do know that these military dogs have saved thousands of lives. So it's only fitting that war dogs get their own holiday.
That holiday is National K-9 Veterans Day on March 13. It is celebrated on the same day the US Army K-9 Corps was founded. Joseph White, a retired military working dog trainer, originated the idea for the day.
What exactly do the K-9 Corps do during wartime as well as peace patrol? According to BarkPost some of the military dogs' tasks include sniffing out bombs and weapons.
Even though you might envision a military dog as a German Shepherd, that isn't the only breed that helps out. The other two most popular breeds are the Labrador Retriever and the Belgian Malinois. This latter breed looks remarkably like a German shepherd.
Normally, when writing about national holidays, I offer ideas on where you can get freebies. And I'm not going to disappoint with National K-9 Veterans Day either. However, unlike the food freebies I normally share, this freebie is online and for use on Facebook only. And it's all courtesy of Zoetis, an animal health company.
Through its K-9 Courage website and the Dogs Salute Dogs campaign, you can get a free custom Facebook frame, take a photo of your dog and post it to Facebook to share with friends and family.
Zoetis says its Dogs Salute Dogs program is designed to give civilian dogs the chance to honor military and police dogs. Zoetis' K-9 Courage Program provides healthcare assistance to retired police and military dogs. K-9 Courage launched in March 2015 in partnership with the Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve and the National Police Dog Foundation.
Since then, Zoetis has expanded the program, partnering with American Humane to support service dogs assisting veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This year, Zoetis is sponsoring an entire class of qualified shelter dogs being trained for this critical role through American Humane's "Shelter to Service" program, which rescues abandoned shelter animals and trains them to become lifesaving service dogs for veterans with PTS and TBI.
K-9 Courage provides the owner of each dog with a $300 debit card annually that can be applied toward any veterinary expense, ranging from wellness visits and vaccines, to prescription medications and treats. It supports approximately 650 dogs each year.