UPDATED 1:55 PM PT – Saturday, March 13, 2021
March 13 is National K9 Veterans Day. It commemorates 79 years since the creation of the army’s war dog program, also known as the K9 Corps.
Canines are now trained for a number of different jobs to aid their units from explosive ordinance detection to combat tracking. Some military working dog handlers, like Master-at-Arms Joseph Adames, said that it is important to respect the canines that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
It’s National K9 Veterans Day! Today, we honor the service and sacrifices of American military and working dogs throughout history. 🐶 ❤️
(📷: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bowcock) pic.twitter.com/9vEbl57uDu
— Vet Voice Foundation (@VetVoiceFound) March 13, 2021
“It’s important because these dogs lay down their lives for minimum to nothing,” Adames said. “Sailors, soldiers, we all get paid, but they just want love from us handlers. They want toys and just that love and feedback from the handler. They don’t volunteer for themselves.”
— Defense Health Agency (@DoD_DHA) March 13, 2021
Some of the most famous canines were among those remembered, including Sergeant Stubby, who is known as the “Original War Dog” for his service during World War I. Another canine veteran who received recognition was Cairo, the canine who accompanied SEAL Team 6 during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
In honor of National K9 Veterans Day, we’re giving a round of a-paws for all the brave, hard-working military dogs.
— Call of Duty Endowment (@CODE4Vets) March 13, 2021
Conan, the heroic canine who took part in the successful Al Baghdadi raid, was also among the canines honored. He was praised as “one of the most primetime age-wise service dogs the military has ever seen,” according to President Trump.
“We just gave Conan a medal and a plaque,” the 45th President stated. “I actually think Conan knew exactly what was going on. The dog is incredible, we’ve spent some good time with it. [He is] so brilliant so smart.”
No matter their role, all military dogs were honored as important members of their military units for their life-saving contributions and selfless service.
Today is National K9 Veterans Day, honoring the service of all American military & working dogs. Meet Phoenix, a retired City of St. Charles K9! Phoenix was granted Officer of the Month twice. He retired in 2020 after seven years of service.
Thanks for your service, K9 Phoenix! pic.twitter.com/UlBBEKseUF
— City of Saint Charles, MO (@SaintCharlesMo) March 13, 2021