These military heroes are barktastic!

Julia LeDoux
September 11, 2019 - 2:25 pm
K9 courage winners

American Humane

Four of America’s bravest were honored Thursday during a ceremony on Capitol Hill.

While there’s nothing really unusual about that, the honorees at this particular event weren’t what you might expect.

They each had four legs, wet noses, wagging tails and were winners of American Humane’s   K-9 Medal of Courage Awards.

“By helping to locate enemy positions, engage the enemy, and sniff out deadly IEDs and hidden weapons, military working dogs have saved countless lives in the fight for freedom,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis, (R-FL) co-chair of the Congressional Humane Bond Caucus.  “I consider it a moral responsibility to support America’s veterans and military working dogs, both during their service and in retirement.”

Among the honorees is Sgt. Yeager, a 13-year old Black Labrador who participated in over 100 patrols while serving on three combat tours with the Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan.  On April 12, 2012, an IED blast killed his handler, Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe, and caused Yeager to lose part of an ear.  

Yeager
American Humane

“That’s how he got the Purple Heart and they retired him,” explained his owner of seven years, former Marine wife Caroline Zuendel.  “We were able to adopt him later that year.”

Other honorees included Troll, a Dutch Shepherd who helped safely evacuate a critically injured soldier in Afghanistan in 2012; Niiko, a Dutch Shepherd who undertook 600 missions for the Department of State in Afghanistan; and Emmie, an Improvised Explosive Device Detector dog who served in both Afghanistan and at the Pentagon.

Dog Troll
American Humane

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), co-chairman of the Congressional Humane Bond Caucus, called military working dogs invaluable members of their units.

“Their deeds deserve recognition, their names deserve to be heard and their service remembered,” he said.

Military dogs are vital to protecting those who protect freedom, added American Humane President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert.

“We believe it is important to recognize and honor the extraordinary feats and acts of devotion these heroic animals perform every day,” she said.

The K-9 Medal of Courage was created in 2016 to recognize and honor the extraordinary sacrifice and feats of valor that America’s K-9s perform.

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Reach Julia LeDoux: Julia@connectingvets.com

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