Never before has there been such a long and concentrated demand for military service dogs.
With improvised explosive devices (IEDS) the weapon of choice among forces intent on harming U.S. soldiers, bomb-sniffing dogs have played a critical role over the past decade in saving human lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Dog Center in Kaiserslautern, Germany is where injured service dogs go for medical treatment and rehabilitation.
The center, located just 15 minutes from Landstahl Medical Center injured service men and women are treated, serves about 40 dogs a day, both war veterans and pet dogs of military members who come in check ups, reports Stars and Stripes.
“These are dogs that are a lot different than pets. And while pets play an incredibly important role in everybody’s lives and they bring happiness and comfort and meaning to so many people’s lives," said Lt. Col. Kent Vince, the center director and lead surgeon. "The military working dog is a phenomenal creature in that they’re trained to save lives, find explosives, hunt down the bad guys and, you know, they’ve got a real-world mission that makes a real difference."
Among the wounded the center treats are dogs that have survived a fusillade of bullets and deep shrapnel wounds.
Such was the case with Tomi, a Belgian Malinois working in Afghanistan.
Stars and Stripes has the story of treating Tomi, who unearthed some dozen explosives before becoming a casualty himself.