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Remembering K9s on Veterans Day
First-person stories from handlers in war zones
Silhouette of soldier and military working dog from K9 Heroes: Together We Protect, Defend And Conquer As One by Nicole Arbelo.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, when we honor the service and sacrifice of military veterans, a tradition going back to Armistice Day, November 11, 1919. With our country involved in protracted wars on two fronts it is indeed a poignant day. Among the veterans we honor are military dogs, from sentries in Vietnam to explosives detection dogs in Iraq. Dogs have served in the U.S. military since World War I, but by 2010 there were nearly 3,000 in service, many of them deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Like their handlers and their fellow soldiers, these K9s work hard, contribute much, and suffer injury, trauma and sometimes death.

I’ve been reading Nicole Arbelo’s book K9 Heroes: Together We Protect, Defend And Conquer As One. For Arbelo, who teaches at a high school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Bay Area, the book is obviously a labor of love. Her interest became a passion, when she was researching the role of dogs in the military and read about Sgt. Adam Cann, a K9 handler and trainer from her hometown, who had been killed by a suicide bomber while working security in Ramadi.
When she discovered his partner, a bomb-sniffing German Shepherd named Bruno, survived, she tracked down his new handler. Their story and his encouragement inspired her to “adopt” other handlers, send care packages, develop friendships, reach out and collect stories of war dogs and their handlers. These first-person reports—unvarnished, proud, patriotic, gritty and funny—provide a great introduction to this elite fraternity.
► Follow Nicole Arbelo on Facebook.
► Check out the Military Working Dog Memorial.


Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Karen | November 12 2010 |

Nicole certainly poured her heart and soul into this book! It's obvious she did her research. It is a must read and the book certainly educates everyone about all the great things that the K9 handlers and their Military Working Dogs are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you Nicole!

Submitted by Anonymous | November 12 2010 |

the shiloutte is of cpl. Dustin J. Lee and his K9 partner Lex designed by Dustin uncle Brian Rich

Submitted by Cori Bodeman | November 13 2010 |

I'm so glad for this article. We easily forget these soldiers give the ultimate sacrifice for our country as well. And the government does little to support them. A friend of mine runs a thankless organization called Support Military Working Dogs. They provide a little comfort and some necessities to these heroes as well.

Thanks for the good article.

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