All Americans should be thankful for the hard work, bravery and dedication of the U.S. Armed Forces. However, these brave people have plenty of help that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. March the 13th is K9 Veterans Day. This is the day we pay our respects to the four-legged heroes that work alongside active duty military and service members.
The K9 Corps was established on March the 13th of 1942. It was a direct result of the Dogs For Defense campaign that collected and trained dogs to aide the U.S. Military during WW2. Many of these dogs were actually family pets that were donated by generous American families. Ever since then, highly trained dogs have continued to serve in the U.S. Military.
K9 Veterans Day was first conceived of by Joseph J. White, a native of Jacksonville, Florida. He was himself a Veteran of the Vietnam War and was also a K9 handler and trainer. He led the campaign to mark March 13 as K9 Veterans Day. He wanted to include and honer all dogs that serve the United States and continue to do so. This included search and rescue dogs, veteran assistant dogs and police dogs. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see his dream come true. He died on October 24, 2009.
Since then, several states starting with Florida have passed declarations to mark March 13 as K9 Veterans Day including New Jersey and San Diego. It is hoped that other states will continue to follow Florida’s lead in honoring these four-legged, indispensable aides to the U.S. Armed Forces