Salute our Veteran Military Animals Today Too!

Salute our Veteran Military Animals Today Too!

Memorial Day is devoted to remembering those who gave their lives so that we may enjoy freedom. On this special day, let’s also remember and give thanks to all of the animals that have served in the military and also given their lives in support of our veterans.  Countless numbers of animals have been part of our military effort and continue to be active in present day military activities. I’m sure you’ll be impressed by the variety of animals that have helped freedom ring. In some way, theirs is an even more poetic sacrifice. They weren’t serving some noble cause but just simply performing their duties. Without their service many of history’s battles may have had different outcomes.

Military Dogs

Dogs have long been a part of the military serving as guard dogs, attack dogs, bomb detecting dogs, IED detecting dogs and the eyes and ears for many a soldier.

Military Horses and Mules

It’s estimated that close to 2 million horses served in the Civil War. More than half were known to have died on the battle fields.  It took a team of at least 6 horses to move every cannon.  A hard life for certain. Many famous mounts are memorialized on battlefields throughout the world. Equines have had the largest effect on the success of battles throughout history. They are veterans as much as our soldiers and deserve our gratitude.

Military Pigeons

Some rather unusual animals have also helped our military throughout the years. Of course Carrier pigeons were used continually during both World Wars to speed messages across enemy lines. The Coast Guard utilized the keen eyesight of pigeons in a program which used them to spot life rafts and life jackets to assist in rescue missions. The pigeons were carried in special clear “bubbles” attached to aircraft and taught to peck a target which notified the crew if they spotted a brightly colored object on the water.  Even pigeons are unsung war heroes.

Naval Marine Mammal Program

The US Navy has long maintained a program where dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and seals are trained to assist in underwater rescue, equipment retrieval, detection and assistance.


The variety of animals that have served our military in its continual quest for freedom is certainly impressive. A staggering number of animals have participated in our military campaigns and served valiantly and honorably. Take a minute today to thank them too for helping our country. It’s taken teams of soldiers and animals to achieve the peace we know today. Thanks to them all.

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  • Blog Author

    Dr. James Zgoda

    Education: University of Pennsylvania, B.A. Animal Behavior 1980 Rutgers Univ., M.S. Zoology 1981 Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, D.V.M., 1985 Owner and chief veterinarian of Otterkill Animal Hospital in Campbell Hall, NY ... Read Full
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