Americans paid tribute to four-legged heroes on Wednesday in honor of K9 Veterans Day.
March 13, 2019, was the 77th anniversary of the founding of the K9 Corps, also known as the War Dog Program. Since that time, thousands of dogs have been through the rigorous training program and been battle-tested alongside their human counterparts in every major conflict since.
Over 1,500 dogs served in Korea, over 4,000 deployed to Vietnam, and thousands more have served honorably in Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years. (RELATED: Canine Partner Of Murdered Officer Will Retire, Live With His Widow And Son)
Who’s a good boy? Our K-9s are the heroes we don’t deserve, but we all need. Today is the official birthday of the United States K9 Corps. Happy K9 Veteran’s Day to our four legged friends *ruff* ???????? pic.twitter.com/D6T4wHvVhO
— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) March 13, 2019
In honor of National K9 Veterans Day, get to know a @USArmy military working dog handler and her military working dog, Cody.
Video by Sgt. Ross Mowery & Sgt. Angel Vasquez, Defense Media Activity-Army Media. pic.twitter.com/jADYM8bK1T
— 4th Infantry Div. (@4thInfDiv) March 13, 2019
— CaliforniaGuard (@theCaGuard) March 13, 2019
Today is K9 Veterans Day, honoring the thousands of military working dogs who have served throughout history. From acting as messengers in WWI to finding hidden IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq, military working dogs have helped to save countless American lives. #K9VeteransDay pic.twitter.com/336Ixhix7k
— National Memorial Day Concert (@MemorialDayPBS) March 13, 2019
— Navy Federal (@NavyFederal) March 13, 2019
Today is National K9 Veterans Day. Pictured: Spicer, a @118thWing facility dog, poses for a photo. Spicer’s job is to be a calming presence, reduce stress, and help with Airmen morale. https://t.co/dqcxjPGpEG pic.twitter.com/J1qVddWKeD
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) March 13, 2019
Today, K9 Veterans Day, is a chance to honor military working dogs from Sergeant Stubby in WWI to Cairo, who helped take down Osama Bin Laden. To all our furry comrades, thank you for your service! pic.twitter.com/l4oOLiA8b1
— ESGR (@ESGR) March 13, 2019
Today is K9 Veteran’s Day. Join us in thanking and honoring K9s all over the world who have so bravely and fearlessly served their countries.
— K9s4COPs (@K9s4COPs) March 13, 2019
On #K9VeteransDay we’re saluting our own @MoCapitolPolice K9s, Hutch and Burbon. They won’t mind the attention!
⭐️National K9 Veterans Day is celebrated on March 13, the official birthday of the US Army K9 Corps, which was formed in 1942. pic.twitter.com/r40OpaEFMv
— Capitol Police (@MoCapitolPolice) March 13, 2019
K9’s Veterans day is today. So in honor of the best battle buddy ive ever had, thanks Tank. I miss you every damn day buddy. Who knows how many lives you saved. 3 finds and 0 misses baby. “Where angels fear to fly, K9s lead the way”#K9VeteransDay pic.twitter.com/uQPzvumUSi
— Casey Chang (@ChangVicious) March 13, 2019
— American Kennel Club (@akcdoglovers) March 13, 2019
The National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, put a unique spin on the holiday by hoisting a specially-made American flag — colored the way dogs see it.
Today, in honor of #K9VeteransDay, the #K9Veterans flag is flying on the Mall of the @TheWWImuseum #KCParks #WhereKCPlays Read about the day and ceremony held last Saturday>>https://t.co/YujuiFgOlH pic.twitter.com/wdHZpBuocA
— KCMO Parks and Rec (@KCMOParks) March 13, 2019
While dogs have only officially served on the battlefield since 1942, one of the most famous war dogs in history actually served three decades earlier in World War I.
Sergeant Stubby was the name given to the stray pit bull mix who became the first dog ever given military rank. The tenacious terrier, after being stowed away on a ship to France by a Private Robert Conroy, soon became a hero. He sniffed out incoming enemy fire and gas attacks on the battlefields of France. He even reportedly sniffed out a German soldier disguised in a U.S. military uniform.
The story was retold in Sgt. Stubby’s New York Times obituary:
In the Chemin des Dames, Stubby captured a German spy and saved a doughboy [slang for a United States infantryman] from a gas attack. Hearing a sound in the stillness of the night, the dog, who guarded sleeplessly, stole out of the trenches and recognized–a German. Attempts by the German to deceive the dog were futile. Seizing his prisoner by the breeches, Stubby held on until help arrived.