Fri, 09 Nov 2012 00:45:00 GMT | By MSN News
Dogs in military conflicts

Honouring animals in conflict



In the image above, Canadian soldiers walk with their dog as they arrive at a base near the village of Nakhonay in Panjwai district, southern Afghanistan. (© Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)
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  • In the image above, Canadian soldiers walk with their dog as they arrive at a base near the village of Nakhonay in Panjwai district, southern Afghanistan. (© Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)
  • In the image above, a military dog attacks a simulated opponent in a car during a combat skills demonstration by graduating soldiers from the Saudi special forces at a base near Riyadh. (© Fahad Shadeed/Reuters)
  • About 300 retired U.S. military dogs are put up for adoption each year, although officials say they often receive more adoption applications than that. In the image above, a U.S. marine from the 1st Light Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, Jump Platoon gives water to sniffer dog Conn while on patrol near a sandstorm in a desert in Helmand, Afghanistan. (© Erik de Castro/Reuters)
  • A soldier with BRAVO Company, 1st battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment patrols with his dog in the village of Nakhonay in Panjwai district, southern Afghanistan. (© Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)
  • A British soldier from 3 SCOTS rests with his dog after taking over a Taliban compound in a Taliban-held area of Afghanistan's Helmand province during Operation Panther's Claw. (© Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
  • Shadow, an Afghan puppy owned by Canadian soldiers from the NATO-led coalition, sits in his sand-bagged kennel at Three Tank Hill base near Panjwaii town in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan. (© Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters)
  • Ikar, a sniffer dog, yawns while riding with handler Vance McFarland, a Specialist of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, inside an armored vehicle outside Forward Operating Base Pasab in Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan. (© Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)
  • A German Bundeswehr army soldier with the Delta platoon of the 2nd paratroop company 373 strokes a dog on its head during a mission in the city of Iman Sahib, north of Kunduz, northern Afghanistan. (© Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
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Animals have always had a place in military conflicts, whether by accident or design. In early November, special plaques and a bronze statue were unveiled in Ottawa to honour the service of animals in war.

"As a tribute to the efforts of animals who served during crucial battles, we honour their unwavering loyalty, dedicated service, and strong companionship during difficult times" said Minister of Veterans Affairs Steven Blaney at the dedication.

A variety of animals were used during war. Mules carried supplies and artillery; horses hauled field guns; carrier pigeons delivered messages to specific destinations; and dogs worked as messengers, medical assistants, mine detectors and in search and rescue. Dogs are still employed by the Canadian Armed Forces today.

"With this dedication, we have ensured that the efforts and sacrifices of animals in war will be recognized today and in the future," said Lloyd Swick, Founder of the Animals in War Dedication Project.

The Government of Canada contributed more than $98,000 toward the creation and unveiling of the Animals in War Dedication, located in Confederation Park, in downtown Ottawa. Laureen Harper is the honorary patron of the project.

In the image above, Canadian soldiers walk with their dog as they arrive at a base near the village of Nakhonay in Panjwai district, southern Afghanistan.

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