The U.S. Postal Service is honoring our brave military working dogs with a new booklet of 20 stamps. Each block of four stamps features a geometric illustration of the most commonly served dog breeds in America’s armed forces — German shepherd, Labrador retriever, Belgian Malinois, and Dutch shepherd.
Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps and the art was created by DKNG Studios. The color scheme is red, white, blue, and gold to represent the American flag and the patriotism displayed by our loyal military working dogs.
Each stamp features details of a large white star in the center, the name of the canine breed, a geometric digital illustration of one of our four legged heroes, and the words “USA” and “forever”.
The Military Working Dogs stamps will go on sale nationwide on Aug. 1, 2019.
Military Dogs Who Serve our Country
When we think of those who make personal sacrifices on behalf of our country, we often envision men and women dressed in the distinctive uniforms of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Yet, on a daily basis, we also are protected by dogs who display their dedication by serving in war zones and helping their human counterparts.
Known as military working dogs (MWD), these canines have been joining the ranks of the U.S. military since World War I. In honor of MWDs, we gathered a list of five things you may not know about these furry heroes.
- MWDs are trained very early. Dogs are trained extensively from birth to gain their certification as an MWD from the U.S. Department of Defense. By the time the puppies are 2 months old, breeders are able to observe personality traits to determine the roles best suited for them. Some dogs are designated for the field, where their expertise may include bomb detection and jumping out of helicopters. Others become therapy dogs for military servicemembers.
- Many served in Vietnam. Nearly 5,000 military working dogs accompanied military servicemembers during the Vietnam War. However, only about 200 dogs left the country after a 10-year period. Many died, while others were left behind in the country. That experience marked the most concentrated use of dogs and their handlers during any combat period in which the United States has been involved.
- Occasionally, they become famous. Cairo, a highly trained Belgian Malinois dog, received plenty of attention in May 2011 when it was made known that he helped a Navy SEAL team in the raid that located and killed Osama bin Laden. “These dogs act as a first line of defense against enemy threats because they can smell things and go places that humans can’t,” said Tech. Sgt. Roseann Kelly in the foreword for the book Dogs Who Serve: Incredible Stories of Our Canine Military Heroes.
- They retire early. Because of the physical demands of working as a military working dog, these canines usually retire by the age of 8 or 10. Like their human counterparts, they’re often treated to retirement parties.
- After retirement, they often are adopted. Before 2000, many military working dogs were euthanized. It was during that year that “Robby’s Law” was enacted, allowing for adoption of the dogs. Generally, the dog’s personal handler has the first priority for adoption. The adoption process is then opened to other military servicemembers or civilians. According to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, the waiting list to adopt a military dog is up to two years long.