Dogs in the News: Monuments to Devotion

Dogs and service are a great match.

Dogs are unfailingly devoted, attentive, intelligent, energetic, and eager to please. Okay, some are more of the above than others. But even the sluggish or slow-witted among canines define themselves in terms of their relationships to humans, and that alone is service, pure and simple.

When it comes to professional service, though, a high degree of specific aptitude and training are essential, not to mention that unique “chemistry” that defines a true partnership. Odin is not a professional service dog in his story. In fact, one of the German soldiers insisted that Odin lacked the intelligence for such service. You can judge for yourself when you read his story. It’s not giving anything away, though, to say that Odin DID NOT have good chemistry with the Germans.

This week the first National Military Working Dog Monument was dedicated in San Antonio. A granite pedestal features the U.S. military’s four most often used working dog breeds since World War II: Doberman pinscher, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and Belgian Malinois. (Link)

Lt. Gen. James Holmes, Air Education and Training Command vice commander said, “As a nation we owe our war dogs a tremendous debt of gratitude. Their selfless service, loyalty and sacrifices to our country must never be forgotten. The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is a treasure for us all to ensure they are honored and remembered forever.”

This AP report tells the background story of veteran military dog handler John Burnham’s decade-plus campaign to make this monument a reality. His story is very compelling, and the recognition is long overdue.

In truth, though, each dog-handler partnership is a monument in itself. Their mutual devotion attests to the equal (and even superior) contributions dogs are capable of making to their work and to their relationship. The same can be said for each of our private partnerships with dogs as well.

The video embedded in this news article (link) has been viewed by millions, but on the off-chance that you haven’t seen it, take a look. Dogs and service are a great match, it’s true. But dogs and the people they love are at the heart of that service.


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