Dogs serving overseas with brave soldiers play a critical part in protecting the troops.
However, the military base doesn’t have the same comforts that our pets enjoy at home.
Dan Hartley, who runs the Stonehill Kennel in Goshen, served the country as a military working dog handler.
“They increase the value of these forces,” Hartley said.
He worked side-by-side with highly-trained dogs, responsible for patrol work as well as tracking explosives or drugs.
“They are important for the military, they've tried to replace the dog as a detection unit for finding these bombs, and they just can't do it. Nothing really beats a dog's nose as far as finding these things,” Hartley said.
The newly released summer film “Max” showcases the life of a military dog and has increased awareness about what the animals go through.
While Hollywood may give people an idea of what it is like for the dogs, the real-life conditions on a base can be rough, but there are ways to help.
Many people will put together care packages for troops, and the same can be done for their canine counterparts.
Adapting to the harsh conditions can be tough, so saline rinse from a local drug store helps get the sand and dirt out of their eyes.
Booties also protect their sensitive paws from the blistering heat.
The dogs also need collapsible water bowls to take a drink no matter where they are, and for playtime they use heavy duty toys like balls.
Veterinarian Chris Gargamelli, from the Animal Hospital of Rocky Hill, said there are some things that should be left out of a care package, like rawhides and biscuits which may not be appropriate for the dogs.
“They're all on special diets. And some of the diets are tailored to the environment they're in. Things that they're not used to can cause an upset intestinal track,” Gargamelli said.
Anyone interested in putting together a care package and learn more by heading to two websites.
Visit “Give 2 the Troops” by clicking here.
Visit the United States War Dogs Association, Inc. by clicking here.
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