On Veterans Day, when our nation remembers those who’ve served in the military, we make a point to remember our military dogs. We’ve had a string of good stories lately, mostly surrounding the publication of Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, the second book about military dogs by author and Dogster contributor Maria Goodavage, who we also interviewed.
Today we’ve got another good story: the Save-A-Vet organization, which rescues military and law enforcement working dogs from being put down when their service is over, is soon going to be getting a big check to continue just that, thanks to Pet Supplies Plus. Since Friday, the national retailer of pet supplies has been running a Veterans Day Weekend promotion, donating 25 cents for every Natural Balance item sold at the more than 300 Pet Supplies Plus stores through today.
It’s a natural fit for Pet Supplies Plus of Chicago manager, Harry Thomas. He served in Vietnam as a dog handler, and he’s a big supporter of the Save-A-Vet. He said he was appalled during the war “when a countless number of dogs who saved the lives of thousands of war heroes were regarded as excess equipment and euthanized after service -– disposed of as if they were extra boots,” according to the company.
Today, that doesn’t happen thanks to groups like Save-A-Vet. The organization was started by Iraq War veteran Danny Scheurer, who, when he was stationed in Baghdad, had a similar awakening as Thomas. He witnessed a military contractor, whose contract with the government was not being renewed, abandon his company’s corporate-owned K-9s in the streets of Baghdad rather than deal with costs of transporting and sheltering them.
When Scheurer got back home, he launched Save-a-Vet. The group rescues military and law enforcement working dogs and helps to provide housing and relief for disabled veterans who help take care of them. The group is dedicated to helping military and law enforcement find ways to retire their K-9 partners, and it hopes to one day open a facility in each state dedicated to housing the dogs.
The group has a strong website, filled with stories and videos of working dogs who got a second chance. The site also provides tips on how to adopt a military working dog (MWD) yourself — according to the page, the military “will adopt out any retired MWD they feel is safe and fit to live in a household situation and try to match each individual dog with a suitable owner.” All adoptions are handled out of the Lackland Air Force Base outside San Antonio, Texas, which is the site of the Military Working Dog School.
If you’re around a Pet Supplies Plus today, buy some Natural Balance. The retailer is also matching funds for the promotion, raising up to $50,000.
Read more about military dogs: