Canine Military and Police Dog Heroes: Supporting Courage
Owners of retired military and police often don’t have the funds to pay for their care. The Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health) RIMADYL K-9 Courage Program will provide owners of retired military working dogs and retired police dogs a $300 debit card to be used for basic veterinary care. In addition, Zoetis has made $10,000 contributions to both the Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve and the National Police Dog Foundation.
After returning home following active duty in Afghanistan, Cpl. Matthew Foster, U.S. Marine Corps, never gave up on his goal to adopt his explosives detection dog, a black Labrador Retriever named Sgt. Mick. My conversation with Cpl.Foster touched my heart (the video posted below) – their bond he has with is dog is undeniable.
Foster explains how the Lab went about his job in the military. “As an IED detection dog, Mick would search for explosives, sweeping an area. I was right behind (him), then behind us was the remainder of the platoon. Every day we depended on one another. We did this for nine months. One day, Mick lay down and stared. We knew there was explosive detected.” Foster pauses, to compose himself. He saved my life, for sure, and probably the rest of the platoon — 20 other people. Doesn’t he deserve care as he ages?”
Diane Whetsel is founder and board chair of the non-profit Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve. The organization, named for Whetsel’s now deceased dog, promotes the welfare of dogs who’ve faithfully served (often in harm’s way) in wars, police work, crime prevention and rescue efforts through education and increasing public awareness. Sage served as a search-and-rescue dog in Iraq, and among other notable assignments, worked at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and helped search for lost people after Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after retiring, Sage succumbed to illness which may have been related to his work.