Happy Memorial Day from the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital !
Last year for Memorial Day we wrote a blog post about war and service dogs which you can read here, admiring War Dogs for their courage and sacrifice.
This year we wanted to share the story of a U.S. Marines Dog named Lucca, who received the highest military award possible for a service dog, the PDSA Dickin Medal, after she lost one of her legs while sniffing out bombs in Afghanistan.
Dogs like Lucca make huge sacrifices to help protect our human soldiers, and we are so so grateful to them for their amazing work.
Her owner,Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, said, “Lucca is very intelligent, loyal and had an amazing drive for work as a search dog. She is the only reason I made it home to my family and I am fortunate to have served with her.”
From the article:
Meet Lucca, a retired U.S. Marine Corps dog who lost one of her legs while hunting for homemade bombs in Afghanistan.
More than four years after she was reduced to three paws, Lucca was awarded a top military medal for the 400 missions she completed during her service.
The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals — a British charity known as the PDSA — honored Lucca with its Dickin Medal during a ceremony at London’s Wellington Barracks on Tuesday.
The PDSA says the award is “the highest award any animal in the world can achieve while serving in military conflict” and has given it out just 66 times since 1943.
Four pounds of courage! Yorkie Doodle Dandy! Angel in a Foxhole!
These are all nicknames for the infamous WWII war dog, Smoky, a female Yorkshire Terrier found in 1944 in an abandoned foxhole in the New Guinea jungle.
After trading a G.I. two Australian pounds for the small pup, American Corporal Bill Wynne, who would became Smoky’s lifelong companion, trained Smoky to parachute from tall trees, run telegraph wire through small pipes (sparing the soldiers this life-threatening work), walk tightrope, and eventually to become one of the first therapy dogs on record by comforting injured soldiers.
Smoky served in 12 combat missions in the South Pacific and was awarded 8 battle stars. The brave little Yorkie lived to be 14 years old, passing away in 1957. Her human, Bill Wynne, wrote a book about his experiences with Smoky titled Yorkie Doodle Dandy: Or, the Other Woman Was a Real Dog, published in 1996. Several memorials were built to memorialize Smoky’s service, including the one pictured at top at the Cleveland Metroparks in Lakewood, OH, right next to the location of her final resting place.
A big thank you to Smoky and all war dogs on this Veteran’s Day ! We appreciate you !
In observance of Memorial Day this year, we’d like to give recognition to the War Dogs of the United States. Military working dogs (MWDs) serve in extreme conditions, endure intense training, and work through combat situations of all kinds. These dogs save countless lives by sniffing out bombs and IEDS, finding wounded soldiers and civilians, and acting as sentries at military encampments. War dogs are given medals of valor just like human solidiers. Some dogs even suffer from the same post-traumatic-stress that human soldiers experience. We want to express how much we love and appreciate these amazing animals.
No matter whether you are pro-war or pro-War Dog or not, it is undeniable that these dogs are deserving of praise, recognition, care, and love. They didn’t sign up for their tour of duty, but they completely dedicate themselves to their tasks and to their human companions. These pups are unsung heroes.
ADOPT A VET !
Thanks to Robby’s Law, passed in 2000 by President Clinton, the U.S. government is required to place all retired and discharged adoptable MWDs in caring homes. Before this law was passed, retired MWDs were often euthanized, as they were considered unfit for adoption and simply “obsolete equipment” by the government. Not anymore! Robby’s Law changed all that. These pups deserve a wonderful life after all the service they give to the country, and they will get it from now on. If you are interested in adopting an MWD, visit this site: saveavet.org. There you can find info on adopting retired MWDs, as well as other ways to help.
We love you, you strong, incredible doggies ! Thank you for everything you do.