10 Valorous Dogs Who Demonstrate Why We Celebrate National K9 Veterans Day

March 13 is National K-9 Veterans Day, a special day set aside to honor all the brave military dogs working hard to keep our country safe.

Here are 10 inspiring stories about loyal military K9s who used their keen senses, speed, and strength to protect their fellow soldiers, even when it meant risking their lives. Please join us in celebrating these brave four-legged heroes on National K-9 Veterans Day!

Sgt. Stubby

This former stray played a critical role during WW1, where he bravely accompanied troops to the front lines. Named for his nub of a tail, Sgt. Stubby used his keen sense of hearing and smell to warn soldiers of artillery fire and gas attacks, helped find wounded soldiers, and once even sniffed out a German spy, whom he repeatedly bit until help arrived.

K-9 Conan

The brave Belgian Malinois played a critical role in tracking down ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed by U.S. commandos in a stealth raid. “We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!” former President Trump wrote on Twitter at the time. What a good boy!

K-9 Atilla

K-9 Atilla spent her distinguished military career with the U.S. Marines, where she used her keen sense of smell to detect bombs and explosives until she retired from active duty. Check out K-9 Atilla’s heartwarming reunion with her former marine handler!

K-9 Carlos

K-9 Carlos spent many years in Afghanistan with former U.S. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland, who also adopted Carlos when he retired. When the military working dog finally passed away at age 15, the heartbroken veteran wrapped K9-Carlos in a U.S. flag he’d carried on all of their missions together.

K-9 Ikar

This military working dog spent 3 years helping Army Specialist Vance McFarland detect roadside bombs in Afghanistan. “Sometimes were good, sometimes were stressful,” said McFarland, who adopted the dog after Ikar retired. “Having Ikar definitely made it a lot better. Having a dog with you on deployment is almost like having a little bit of home.”

K-9 Maiko

K-9 Maiko accompanied Army rangers on six tours in Afghanistan before he was killed in action during a raid on Al-Qaida militants. “Rest assured, Maiko never backed down from a fight with the enemy, training or combat,” an officer later tweeted, explaining how the dog’s bravery saved the lives of fellow soldiers. “He embodied what it means to be a Ranger.”

K-9 Irk

This military working dog spent six years serving his country before he was finally reunited with his former handler in Arizona. Find out more about their heartwarming reunion!

K-9 Army

Not only did K-9 Army play a critical role in the Navy, but the military working dog also provided a life-saving blood transfusion for a fellow K-9 suffering from heatstroke in Kuwait. Watch the heartwarming video:

K-9 Rico

K-9 Rico served 8 years in the United States Air Force, where he completed more than 100 combat missions and earned a Bronze Star for finding over 100 pounds of explosive material. The military working dog’s impact was so widely felt that heartbroken airmen gave K-9 Rico a hero’s farewell when he finally crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

K-9 Blue

The brave black lab worked beside U.S. marines in Afghanistan, where she used her nose to detect improvised explosives. “Since we knew Blue is effective, it was almost impossible for a squad or a platoon to go out without Blue,” said the dog’s handler, U.S. Marine Byung “BK” Kang, who resolved to adopt the clever K-9 when she finally retired. “I told her, ‘What you’ve done for me and my guys over here in Afghanistan, we cannot pay back. So I’m going to give you a good home where you can cuddle all day, not worrying about going to war and finding bombs.’”

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