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Medals of honor for military working dogs

This petition had 81,010 supporters

At the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military had a force of roughly 2,500 military working dogs. These fiercely intelligent and dedicated animals put their lives on the line to protect their human handlers, and their fellow soldiers, by detecting IEDs, weapons caches, and enemy presence. Their bravery prevented countless potential casualties, and soldiers have acknowledged their sacrifice time and again.

When human soldiers battle valiantly and save numerous lives, they are awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor. If they are injured or killed in the process, they receive a Purple Heart. Yet, there is no way for us to officially honor the courageous military working dogs that many of us have relied on to fight for us and keep us safe. We must change this.

One well-known example is Lucca, a German Shepherd mix who did two tours of duty with the U.S. Marine Corps and served for six years, during which she completed more than 400 missions. She weathered firefights, mortar attacks, and IEDs, eventually losing a leg to the latter. Her story became so well-known that she was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery in the United Kingdom, which is considered to be the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. But here in Lucca’s home country, our military does not have an official award recognizing her bravery.

Unlike many humans, these dogs rarely, if ever, second guess putting themselves in harm's way for their handlers. They are not about self-preservation; they have a job to do, and they do it, staring death in the face every moment. Even when not on a mission, they boost the morale of their fellow soldiers and provide love and comfort to soldiers who desperately need it when facing life in a war zone. 

Join me in calling on the Department of Defense to create a separate official military medal just for military working dogs that have proven their bravery and excellence in battle. It’s the least we can do for these four-footed heroes.

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