Dogs Have Always Kept Us Safe

Where would we be without the dogs that work day and night protecting us so that we can enjoy a safer world? As you read this, there are dogs sniffing baggage at the airport, sniffing for smuggled drugs and explosives at our borders, tracking down dangerous criminals, and fighting alongside soldiers in wars. Whenever human capacity and technology reach their limits to protect us, the faithful dog steps in, with sniffing nose and pricked ears, to take on the job.

Dogs have protected us since ancient times, and the relationship is only getting stronger. Perhaps we've begun to realize, there really is no substitute for the protection of the loyal and talented canine. No matter how amazing and sensitive our technology has become for detecting harmful substances, a specially trained dog, with his incredible sense of smell, may be faster, cheaper and more accurate. (And, we might add, more enjoyable to work with than a scanner.) No matter how great our military strategies, defenses and equipment, nothing can replace a dog for alerting soldiers to danger and boosting morale. Dogs have served as sentries, scout or patrol dogs, guards, even messengers in wars. In World War II, over 10,000 dogs were trained. Their incredible senses of hearing and smell saved many units from surprise ambushes, as it is difficult to sneak up on duty-bound guard dogs. Messenger dogs carried information in silence, trained to take cover as they traveled from one handler to the next.

Dogs Serve Alongside Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Today, dogs are fighting with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and have the important job of sniffing out people and weapons before soldiers enter an area or building. Our military now takes greater effort in protecting the dogs that protect our soldiers by outfitting them with bulletproof vests and "doggles" for their eyes.

Like their handlers, dogs work 13 - 14 hours a day in the scorching heat and sandstorms, sniffing vehicles for explosives, controlling crowds or individuals, guarding the base and patrolling. They are, of course, given plenty of breaks, water, cool-down periods, and loads of love and affection from their handlers, who consider their dogs true partners in service.

We may never know why dogs, as a species, have taken on the role of protecting people, but we are all better off because of them. Since ancient times, dogs have guarded our livestock, watched over our property, warned us of danger and protected our families often without the least bit of training. And they do it for nothing more than a pat on the head, a bite of kibble and a word of praise. Good dogs!