For the last several years, the Planet Dog Foundation has sponsored an award for the Dog Writers Association of America annual Writing Competition. The Planet Dog Foundation Sit. Speak. Act. Canine Service Award recognizes the best story promoting and celebrating a program in which dogs serve and support their best friends, by highlighting service dogs, therapy dogs, K-9 search and rescue, police, fire or military dogs.
We are thrilled to highlight this year's winning writer, Sharon Pflaumer, who received the award for her story, "U.S. War Dogs: Courage. . . Intelligence. . . Loyalty." The story, which ran in Dog News: Volume 27, Issue 32, August 12, 2011, gives the reader insight into the exciting and dangerous work being done by highly specialized War Dogs.
Many of us have read that a Belgian Malinois named Cairo participated in the SEAL Team raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan last year that killed Osama bin Laden.
But did you know that many War Dogs actually jump from low-flying helicopters to a mission site? Or, in some cases, these dogs actually parachute from high altitude crafts strapped to their handlers with oxygen masks?
According to Pflaumer's article, Cairo most likely assisted the SEAL Team with advanced explosive detection - moving with his handler through the compound to locate any IEDs hidden on the grounds or within the buildings.
Dogs like Cairo are outfitted with night vision cameras that transmit what the dog can see to the handler on a special monitor, allowing the handler to help visually scan a room for danger before moving in. The dog would be wearing ear buds connected to the handler's microphone, allowing him to respond to even whispered commands to help insure the safety of the dog and the handler, as well as the rest of the team behind them.
The Planet Dog Foundation proudly supports a wide range of dogs that work to help people in need- guide dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs, K-9 Search and Rescue dogs, all of which provide amazing services to their human partners.
But we have to admit that we are especially amazed by the careers of these 4-legged soldiers, the War Dogs, that are helping to keep our service men and women safe in the course of their military duties.
And we offer thanks and congratulations to Sharon Pflaumer for helping to educate all of us about these heroic hounds. Click here to read her article in full: Download DWAA- War Dogs Article