March 9th is a pretty important day for many of our canine companions: it’s National K9 Veterans Day! This occasion is to honor all of the brave, loyal, hardworking pups that work side-by-side with the military and police officers. A local San Antonio, TX vet discusses K9s below.
A Pawspicious Day
In case you were wondering why March 9th was chosen as K9 Veterans Day, that’s because it’s the anniversary of the date the U.S. Army first started training pups for its War Dog program. That happened way back in 1942. This was the beginning of the official K9 Corps, which marked Fido’s first official entry into the U.S. Armed Forces. (K9 is, of course, a clever homophone for the word canine.)
Fido has stood by our sides for thousands of years. He has served us in many different areas over that time. He isn’t exactly new to law enforcement, either. In fact, our canine buddies have been supporting government officials and organizations since about the middle ages. The first documented evidence of dogs working with law enforcement goes back to 14th century France. Of course, Man’s Best Friend has been guarding us, hunting with us, and fighting us since long before that.
K9s perform a wide variety of tasks. Many are utilized in search and rescue. Fido is a natural tracker, and his acute sense of smell has proven invaluable in this area. Dogs’ amazing capacity for detecting smells is also extremely helpful for sniffing out drugs, bombs, and other substances, and finding evidence at crime scenes. K9s also sometimes assist in chasing and apprehending subjects.
Recruitment And Training
Many different breeds have been successful K9s. However, the breeds most likely to be found working as K9s include the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, and Bloodhound. Many retrievers are also well-suited for the work. Not all pups make the cut, however. Fido will have to pass many screenings and exams, and must prove himself capable of following precise commands. Training itself may take up to a year. Once Fido has graduated, he’ll be assigned to a K9 unit and a handler. What happens after his retirement? Many K9s end up being adopted by their handlers, and settle into the well-earned retirements as beloved pets.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your San Antonio, TX animal clinic, today!