As Veteran’s Day Approaches – A Look at Military Service Dogs

Veteran's Day, Military Service Dogs, Soldier
As Veteran’s Day Approaches — A Look at                    Military Service Dogs

As Veteran’s Day approaches, this article will give an overview of the important contributions made by military service dogs. Their keen sense of smell, hearing, and eyesight have made them particularly useful, not to mention their devotion and innate ability to be a team member and take commands.

Military Service Dogs, ancients, World War II, WWII, Belgian-Malinois
Military Service Dogs through the Centuries

Used by the ancients in warfare, dogs have served various purposes that have progressively changed throughout history. In the United States, they were first used during the Seminole Wars. Over the centuries, military service dogs took on various roles and duties. Although used in the past for a myriad of dangerous activities, such as drawing enemy fire or catching rats, modern day service dogs take on humane tasks that allows them to put their unique skills to their ultimate use.

Military Working Dogs

The Quartermaster Corps started to train dogs for the Army’s K-9 Corps in the early part of World War II. After accepting more than thirty breeds, they narrowed their list to the five most effective for

Veteran's Day, Military Service Dogs, German Shepherd
Military Service Dogs
German Shepherd

their purposes. These breeds include the Giant Schnauzers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep dogs, and Farm Collies (short coat). Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are still trained as sled dogs for Arctic duty.

Modern Day Duties

Modern day military dogs are used in quite a few roles, including patrol or scout, sentry, mine, messenger, tunnel, explosives detection, and casualty.

Sentry Duty
  • Ten thousand, four hundred and twenty-five dogs were trained in WWII. Approximately 9,300 of these dogs were placed on sentry duty. Hundreds of military organizations including harbor defenses, coastal fortifications, ammunition dumps, arsenals, depots, industrial plants, and depots benefited from sentry dogs.
  • Sentry dogs work on a short leash and are taught to provide warnings
    Soldier, Military Service Dog, Veteran's Day
    Soldier and Military Service Dog

    through alerting, growling, or barking. They are particularly useful for dark conditions when an attack from the rear or from cover is likely. These dogs are trained to warn their handlers of the presence or approach of strange individuals. They are also used to guard airports, war plants, supply dumps, and other vital military installations. These dogs are incredibly valuable in any location where security must be maintained against intruders.

Military service dogs provide an amazing and necessary service to our country and those who have served our country — our veterans. The next article will focus on other duties military service dogs provide — patrol or scout, mine, messenger, casualty, tunnel, and explosives detection. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Newton, Tom. “K-9 History: The Dogs of War!”. Hahn’s 50th AP K-9.
“Dogs of War in European Conflict; Egyptians and Romans Employed Them in Early Warfare — Battle Dogs in 4000 B.C”. New York Times. February 21, 1915. p. S3., US War Dog Association | National Headquarters, Types of War Dogs

Supplements – The Great Debate

Whether or not to take a vitamin supplement has been a source of debate for decades. Between the health food stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, gyms, infomercials, and network marketing companies, the public is bombarded with ads on what and how much they need. Sifting through all the literature is a bit overwhelming, and determining what and who you can trust just muddies the waters. But, what exactly are these vital dietary elements?

Vitamins — What are they?
Picking Rasberries
Vitamins the Natural Way

They are essential organic (meaning carbon-containing) substances the body needs in the diet in small quantities for the normal growth, maintenance, and function of the body. Although vitamins do not produce energy for the body, often they are key components in reactions that are energy yielding. Some are fat soluble (vitamins A,D,E, and K) and others are water soluble (the B vitamins and vitamin C).

Vitamins — Why are they essential?

Generally, vitamins are essential in the human diet because the body can

The Sun & Vitamin D
The Sun — A Source of Vitamin D

not synthesize them or because environmental factors can decrease their synthesis. Of course there are exceptions, such as:

  • vitamin D which can be synthesized through the skin with adequate exposure to the sun,
  • vitamin A which can be synthesized through certain plant pigments, and others.

In order for a compound to be classified as a vitamin, certain criteria need to be met.

  1. The body cannot synthesize enough of a particular compound to sustain health.
  2. Deficiency symptoms arise if the compound is absent from the diet for a specific amount of time and these symptoms are cured upon its administration.
Vitamins — Where did they get their names?
In the Lab -- Supplements
Vitamins — Discovered

Just because the body can’t make it does not mean it is a vitamin. Interestingly enough, the vitamins primarily received their name alphabetically in the order they were discovered. At this point, most scientists believe that all vitamins have been discovered, although some optimistic researchers persist.

How about that vitamin supplement?

But the question remains, should you take a vitamin supplement? Because most people do not eat a proper diet on a regular basis, for the most part, vitamin supplements are recommended by the health care profession. It is important to recognize however, that although scientists have identified the majority, if not all compounds that can be classified as vitamins, certain unidentified trace elements beneficial to the human body for optimal health may still exist. Additionally, in nature, vitamins and minerals are usually paired with other compounds that maximize their absorption and therefore utilization by the body. Therefore, ideally each person should focus on those foods rich in these important nutrients. Some fruits and vegetables are classified as “superfoods” — they contain high doses of critical vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds, such as phytochemicals. More on that next week.

What is your opinion on taking supplements?

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer