Military K-9 Dogs Awarded Medals Of Courage
There are four K-9 military veterans who pinned on new medals this week–the American Humane Lois Pope K-9 Medal of Courage. Flanked by thankful supporters for their bravery and courageous acts of exceptional valor during service, the dogs stood proudly and accepted their honor.
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Three of the four K-9 dogs are already in retirement, according to the national director of American Humane’s Lois Pope Life Center for Military Affairs Amy McCullough. Summer, a seven-year-old Labrador retriever is still working for the Transportation Security Administration and is being honored for her work as an explosive device detection dog with U.S. Service members.
Also honored will be two old-timers, Jag and Taker. Jag and Taker are both 12-years-old labs who worked with their handlers in explosive detection in the Army and the Marine Corps, respectively. Taba is a 9-year-old Dutch Shepherd who will also be honored for work in the Army looking for explosives and doing patrol work.
McCullough says that these dogs not only protect our troops and our country, but they provide morale boosts and comfort to their brothers and sisters in arms when there is downtime in duty. She says that having a friendly, furry face around is a gift the handlers recognize and are thankful for.
Labrador Retrievers are often the go-to breed for much of this work, as McCullough claims they love to chase and search for things endlessly. Because they are very trainable and play and food motivated, they make amazing obedient military dogs as well.
The dogs don’t always have the same handlers, but are capable of doing the same jobs with whoever they are assigned to. McCullough says that just like human service members, they can be faced with the challenges that combat duty can bring, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Summer actually seems to have some PTSD still, as she tends to shut down and get very still and calm whenever she hears gunshots or loud booms. These furry protectors pay a sacrificial price as well, and the medals of courage honor their achievements and commitment.
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