Dogs do not have the option of enlisting in the military. Yet, after they are chosen and trained, they stand next to their handler willing to give his life for him. When a war dog locates a bomb, or a large cache of weapons and explosives, or even deters an attack we do not hear about it. It isn’t covered on the news, you won’t see it in the newspapers, and chances are we will never know about it. However we, the handlers, know. The Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Seamen who just had their lives saved know. The war dogs also know, and usually receive a special meal at the end of the day.
This blog is dedicated to these dog teams year round, but today I want to say an extra prayer and remember not just those dog teams that have given their lives but all dog teams worldwide who continue to be on the front lines. God bless them all.
A Working Dog Poem
GOD SUMMONED A BEAST FROM THE FIELD
And he said, Behold man, created in my image. Therefore adore him
You shall protect him in the wilderness, shepherd his flocks,
watch over his children, accompany him wherever he may go;
even unto civilization.
You shall be his companion, his ally, his slave. To do these things,
God said, I endow you with these instincts uncommon
to other beasts: faithfulness, devotion, and understanding
surpassing those of man himself.
Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death.
Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to faults of man. Lest it
impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words.
Let no fault of language cleave an accord beyond that of man with
any other beast; or even man with man. Speak to your master only
with your mind and through your honest eyes.
Walk by his side: sleep in his doorway: forage for him, ward
off his enemies, carry his burdens, share his afflictions;
love him and comfort him.
And in return for this, man will fulfill your needs and wants-
which shall be only food, shelter and affection.
So be silent, and be a friend to man. Guide him through the perils
along the way to the land that I have promised him.
This shall be your destiny and your immortality.
So spoke the Lord. And the dog heard and was content.
I was sent this great piece from a member of a group called Soldiers Angels, a volunteer support organization whose motto is “May No Soldier Go Unloved.” She felt so proud of the troops and their dogs she wanted to express her affection in words.
MWD…Military Working Dog
by Sandra Allen
Dedicated to the brave military dogs and their human partners, heroes all.
Because of you terrorism will never win. To all who have fallen, you are missed.
MWD…Military Working Dog
Three little words to describe an elite soldier,
An American K-9 soldier.
MWD…three little words
To describe the exuberant, joyful streak toward a target
The courage under fire,
The pure power in motion,
The gentleness when all is well,
The puppy dance when a mission is over.
Military Working Dog…three little words
To describe a soldier who ignores injury when the voice he loves calls to him to go.
Not to find safety,
But to find danger,
So that those he claims as his own can live free.
Because that’s what it means to be an American soldier.
And if he should become one of the fallen
Or if his partner makes the ultimate sacrifice,
They will mourn deeply for eachother because a part of their heart has died too.
But there is a bigger part of each one that has come alive on their journeys together
Because they mirror the greatness in eachother.
And that can only be celebrated.
Military Working Dog…
Three little words
When you honor the red, white, and blue
When you celebrate our nation’s liberty
Think of the one who’s been beside you
in spirit, in heart, in body…
No being could be as loyal as me, for I am
your best friend, your partner… your family
When our nation was young
I was the runner, carrying messages
in a war that would leave us undone
where brother fought beside brother.
And, alone in the face of terror
I moved through enemy lines,
as families fought one another,
my mission foremost in my mind.
I was the one waiting for you even though
I sensed you would not be coming home
I languished on our wooden porch
growing thinner, until the war was over
and my days on earth were done.
I was in the trenches, fields, and meadows
accompanying you into foreign lands.
With you in the jungles and swamps
and at your heels on hot, dusty roads
or on blistering, desert sands.
I have been first in the line of fire
first to enter a field laden with mines
putting myself in your stead.
I went unflinching, leading,
to wherever, doing whatever you said.
With you I’ve jumped from the belly of a plane
dropping into places neither of us had ever seen.
All for the greater glory and good. All for humanity.
When a bullet took your life I laid by your side
my chin on your chest–despair in my eyes.
Content to have remained with you,
until a man in our unit lifted me up,
carrying me back to the war… as he cried.
When we had parted, when you’d gone home
and when on foreign soil I was left all alone
through no fault of your own I was forsaken.
The government advised you that your friend
and helper; the soldier who’d been by your side,
would not be accompanying you home…
To our home, our country, I could not be taken.
And so it was that we were abandoned
after you tearfully told us we could not follow
the men with whom we had served.
Confusion set in as we watched you depart;
being left behind, we had not deserved.
You left us dispirited, empty, and hollow
for we had given to you all of our all.
Like ghosts were we, missing our souls,
for you had taken with you… our hearts
I have been injured for you.
And I have died for you.
In your absence I have wasted away
from the loss of you.
I’m the scruffy, thin dog sitting quietly
next to the veteran in his wheelchair.
On the hill, the band plays a song
and the man softly cries, while
fireworks light up the night’s air.
Gently I place my paw on his knee
lay my muzzle on his withered leg.
He looks at the small flag he is clutching
then he turns his attention to me.
His eyes are filled with thoughts and tears
but his smile is as warm as the sun.
“Thank you for reminding me,” says he,
“what’s been sacrificed for the freedom we’ve won.”
In the now, we cannot know
who will be needing who.
But what you may not know is
that when you’ll be needing me
I’ll be needing and looking for you.
We’ve been a team, you and me
through the many years
that have shaped this land,
and God has blessed us mightily.
So, every now and then, thank me–
with a look, kind words, and the
touch of a gentle hand…
When you think of liberty
and count the reasons you are free
Don’t forget to think of me!
Copyright © Kathy Pippig Harris
Kathy lives in California’s San Joaquin Valley with her husband and furry family. She is a columnist for the publication “Frank Talk” and a published author of five novels. She states, “Were it not for her need, desire, and love of writing — she would surely go mad!”