A decade ago, Nat Geo News ran a story on military working dogs trained at Lackland Airforce Base—the only military base in the country that trains dogs for combat. Although the dogs do not actually participate in direct combat they may be subjected to some very dangerous situations. Since 9/11 the number of dogs “enlisted” has risen dramatically, and so have injuries to these brave warriors.
Explosive-detection dogs represent a major contingent of the canine military dogs that graduate from the 5 month-long training program. In the 2003 article, Major Frank W. Schaddelee (commander of the 341st Training Squadron) said, “Our goal is to eventually retire about 50 percent of working dogs. They’re good soldiers and served their country well. We want to see them get a good retirement package.”
I don’t know what happened to the dogs, but I do know that dogs continue to be used to help not only current soldiers, but veterans of war—thanks to Hounds and Heroes—a national nonprofit. The organization is dedicated to lifting the spirits and morale of our active, wounded, and veteran military troops worldwide, and to increase community awareness, education and, involvement about the cruelty to animals and necessary care for animals through rescue, foster, and adoption.