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Lest We Forget

Every Remembrance Day, we pause to reflect on the men and women who lost their lives to secure our freedom.
CC image courtesy of Bernt Rostad on Flickr

Alongside some of these soldiers were four-legged canine partners, so this Remembrance Day, their bravery is worthy of reflection as well.

Stories of dogs serving in wartime efforts extend back almost as far as the domestication of the species. Throughout history, dogs have been trained to serve in several areas of military activity: In early wars, they carried messages to the Allies in the trenches. Their duties now include being a part of search-and-rescue teams and tactile units, protecting troops in battle, and helping boost the morale of soldiers with their energy.

CC image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

During World War II, both the Allied countries and their enemies are said to have had large troops of trained canines in their ranks—dogs who had been to war-dog training camps to prepare them for their roles in the military. These dogs, just like their human counterparts, had to pass a physical and undergo intense training, which included preparations for the loud and sudden noises they would hear once out on the field.

Dogs continue to astound us each day with their level of intellect and bravery. We often hear stories about heroic dogs in our towns and cities: dogs who have alerted their families of fire or an intruder; guide dogs trained to lead their humans with confidence; dogs who sniff out threats…. The list goes on.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of war, history and time, we will never know every soldier’s story or be able to appreciate his or her legacy fully. The same goes for our fallen canine heroes, but based on present-day stories of dog heroism that continues to amaze us, it is safe to wager that canine soldiers in wartime were as worthy of praise as they come.

So this Remembrance Day, we honour them, too.

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