It’s no secret that some of the most intricate military operations wouldn’t be able to be conducted if it weren’t for military service dogs. Their heightened senses, incredible tracking ability, and special training help to make dogs vital to our armed services. The dogs and their handlers, who usually begin training together after the dog reaches the age of 1.5 years, form an incredible bond which helps to perpetuate the effectiveness of the dog’s services. These dogs, however, have a special leg up on their handlers… and they don’t even know it.
According to a 2011 blog post by the US Military, military service dogs are all NCO – non commissioned officers – and are given a rank higher than their handler. This tradition is in place to maintain order while training and on missions. As a higher ranking officer, any mistreatment of the dog will result in severe disciplinary action for the handler, thus ensuring the dog is being treated well within the military.
Dogs have served in the military for ages, with the most notable K9 of the US military being Sergeant Stubby. According to the Smithsonian Institute, Sergeant Stubby (pictured below) legitimately earned his title by helping to alert troops of gas attacks and aiding in the capture a German soldier during World War I.
Although it is difficult to say where the next stage of dog and handler work in the military will go, it’s clear to see how irreplaceable they are in the structure of our armed forces. As the saying goes, does really are man’s best friend.