Military Service Dogs: Silent Heroes

Military service dogs provide an important contribution to our armed forces and the protection of our country. They are our silent heroes. In my earlier article, As Veteran’s Day Approaches – A Look at Military Service Dogs, we reviewed their service historically and touched on one of their modern day duties – sentry. This article further explores the invaluable contributions of our military service dogs.


Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Military Service Dog Messenger

Messenger dogs must travel in silence and use the terrain’s natural cover to go from one handler to another. Although loyalty is an important quality in all military working dogs, messenger dogs require more. When a dog works with two handlers, loyalty becomes an even more important quality.


Dogs with patrol/scout duty must not only have the skills required for sentry dogs (warn, work in the dark, accompany a guard, and guarding), but in order to detect ambushes, snipers, and enemies within the area, they must work in silence. Only the brightest with a quiet demeanor can handle this duty.

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Patrol/Scout Military Service Dog

Patrol/scout dogs can detect  enemy presence long before humans become aware of them – up to 1,000 yards. This dog alerts to the enemy in the following ways:



  • It stiffens its body,
  • pricks its hears,
  • raises its hackles, and
  • holds its tail rigid.

The presence of these service dogs not only boosts morale, but significantly decreases the risks associated with ambush.


Mine detection dogs also referred to as the “M-Dog” locate booby traps, trip wires, nonmetallic and metallic mines.


This duty was a specialty required in Vietnam. The Vietnam Cong tunnel dwellers caused the death of many of our military. They were difficult to locate until tunnel dogs were trained to find and explore these tunnels.


Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Silent Heroes – Military Service Dogs

Just as search and rescue dogs are trained, so are casualty dogs to search for casualties and report those in obscure places. Time is of the essence in cases of hemorrhage or severe shock and every minute counts in a life or death situation.

Explosives Detection

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Our Silent Heroes

Explosives detection dogs detect and alert to the chemical scent used in explosives. Their highly acute sense of smell makes them ideal for locating explosives regardless of how they are packaged. In our fight against the War on Terrorism, it is critical to locate explosives hidden in a vehicle, on an individual, or on the roadside and there is no other member more qualified to assist than this service dog.

Military service dogs serve our military, our veterans, and our country well. While these first two articles explore the duties they provide, the next will look at the preferred breeds for these duties. If you have had first hand experience with one of these amazing dogs, please share… .

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dogs
Military Service Dogs: Silent Heroes

Newton, Tom. “K-9 History: The Dogs of War!” Hahn’s 50th AP K-9., US War Dog Association | National Headquarters, Types of War Dogs

What About That New Year’s Resolution?

What about that New Year’s resolution? Did you make yours? If you did, how long is your list? My New Year’s resolutions started in middle school and continued for more years than I’d like to count. They included what most people placed on their list, although they varied based on the time of my life:

  • avoiding chocolate,
  • exercising,
  • losing weight (especially after having babies),
  • meeting new people (I was very shy — notice the past tense),
  • providing additional community service hours…. .

Although my resolutions were made with good intentions and were always meritorious, there was an undeniable common thread — I inevitably broke them. The question was how long did I maintain before I failed?

New Year’s Resolutions: Overcoming Failure
New Year's Resolution, goals, succeed, plans
What About That New Year’s Resolution?

With failure came disappointment, frustration, and a sense of loss. My motivation went out the window, after all, I already failed. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a number of years ago, however, I never threw the baby out with the bath water. My thinking, focus, and approach changed.

New Year’s Goals:

I no longer make New Year’s resolutions, I make New Year’s goals. According to the dictionary, a goal is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.” I create goals and strive to achieve them. It’s okay to get off track, I can always get myself back on without a sense of failure. It’s a healthier, positive outlook that keeps me on track.

Hidden Bloodlines, romantic suspense, Colorado Rockies, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Hidden Bloodlines

My article, On the Road to Healthy Living: Foolproof Your Plan! provides the road map to successfully meet your New Year’s goals. Encouraged by the success of my debut novel, Hidden Bloodlines, my goals for 2017 include getting the second in the J.C. Classified series ready for my publisher. The Relic’s Reach is currently a work in progress and I am excited about the headway I’ve made. My other goals include remaining physically fit, increasing my physical performance, staying within the low range of my ideal body weight in anticipation of the planning and celebration that goes into the next goal — my daughter’s wedding!

engagement, wedding, couple, congratulations
Wedding Eminent!

There is no doubt that 2017 will be a big year! Accordingly, I plan to post twice monthly.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and productive 2017! God bless!

Any tips? Please share.



(C) 2017 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer