Memorial Day For Man’s Best Friend

Did you know that thousands of dogs have served alongside our country’s military forces for many, many years? The United States began training canines for combat not long after the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Dogs for Defense, a civilian volunteer group which was later officially recognized by the military, established a reception and training center in Fort Royal, Virginia.

Red Cross dogs

photoOver ten thousand dogs from the US and thousands more Red Cross dogs from different nations were in action during World War II. Dogs in battle continued to serve through the Vietnam War, and at the end of the conflict, our military left in Vietnam about 2,800 of the 3,000 canines that served.

Prior to being deployed overseas, dogs were stationed in army camps and underwent an intensive 12-week training period, often as patrol and sentry “soldiers”. It has been found that the best breeds for war dogs are German shepherds, Belgian shepherds, Airedales, Rottweilers, Dobermans, giant schnauzers, and collies.

Dogs have been used in battles since the beginning of time, with Assyrian temple carvings showing great dogs in combat. Canines were also present at fights in the Middle Ages as well as the Siege of Corinth.

In modern times, France trained dogs to search for injured men during World War I, and soon other countries followed suit. The British used dogs as messengers while the Italians had them deliver food to mountainous areas. By 1915, the Germans’ 6,000 dogs had rescued over 4,000 wounded men. Between 1914 and 1918, more than 7,000 canines were killed in action.

Deployed dogs

Currently, there are dogs serving in the War in Iraq, with several in the Gulf assisting American and British soldiers. Most are guard dogs that help protect the British military, though they may also be used to guard Iraqi prisoners of war. Other canines are tasked to look for bombs and weapons.

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A Face and Paws of National Assistance Dog Week

One of our Facebook fans and avid blog readers shared their story.  We, the team at PorchPotty, thought it was a real-life story that would touch your heart this Monday morning as we “kick-off” National Dog Assistance Week.

Thank you to Paul Harpole for sharing!

Lady and Alex

Hi I’m Lady and I am a 3 1/2 yr. old German Shepard.  I am a very special dog with a very special job.  I am a Seizure Alert Dog for my 10 yr. old best friend, Alex Harpole. Alex received me from 4 Paws For Ability 2 1/2 yrs. ago.

I go to school with Alex everyday and even ride the school bus with him!  I really enjoy my job and do a great job doing it. I am able to let Alex’s parents, Carrie and Paul, and his teachers know 45 minutes before a seizure occurs!

I am very comforting to Alex also and sleep with him after his seizures to make sure he is okay and doesn’t feel alone. I am also very comforting to Alex during the several hospital and doctors visits he has on a monthly basis and help calm his fears during these times.

Alex and I have even felt like movie stars at times! We have been to Capitol Hill to share our story with our state legislators and  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  We have also been in spirits and on a poster 18,000 ft. to base camp on Mt. Everest!  We have been involved in 2 documentaries that are currently being entered into the National Film Festival and Emmys.  These documentaries are being used to spread awareness about Epilepsy and the jobs that special dogs like me have.

Then finally we were in a children’s book by Bearport Publishing last year called “Dog Heroes.”

Now, besides all the stardom I have really been a huge help and blessing to Alex and his whole family.  His seizures have reduced since I have been there with him, he has been able to quit wearing his protective helmet, his mommy and daddy don’t have to stay with him in his room all day just while he watched cartoons or play with his toys – he can now do that just like any other normal child with me by his side.

As for me being an Assistance Dog, I ask that this week you give an extra treat to any assistance animal you know.  We are able to perform jobs that even a human couldn’t do!

For more information on Alex’s Journey, visit here.

Paws & Kisses –

Lady Harpole

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Through a Dog’s Eyes

This Sunday marks the beginning of  National Assistance Dog Week.  If you’ll look at our previous past two posts you’ll see some valuable information on how you can help create awareness and show support.

In fact, one of our fans posted her own picture and story here on our Facebook Fan Page.

Do you have a service dog story that you would like to share?  Please let us know by posting your story, photo, video, or idea on our Facebook page and we’ll be sure to contact you for more information and to share with others the importance of the service that service dogs provide.

If you know of a service dog that uses the PorchPotty, we would also be interested in highlighting them on our Featured Dog of the Week – located on the front page of our PorchPotty website.

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