Coco's Birthday Party, Final Day: Author Ronie Kendig on Military Dogs


I absolutely love Ronie Kendig and her inspirational suspense fiction series, Discarded Heroes and her next series looks like it's going to be another winner! Read below and see why I wanted to feature her during pet week!

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Last year, a dear friend forwarded an email with an incredible story about a military war dog who had miraculously saved his handler from a POW camp in Iraq. Enthralled with the story and being an author of military stories, I had to check out the story. I quickly learned the story was a hoax, but that research threw me onto the path of a new breed (ahem, pardon the pun) of warriors—military war dogs!

In my research, I learned that war dogs have existed since war itself. Ancient Romans deployed huge hounds called Molossus that could knock a man off a galloping horse and disembowel him. Roman General Gaius Marius was routed in Gaul by a team of snarling, snapping hounds under the command of women handlers! In Vietnam, military war dogs saved more then ten-thousand lives. In the War on Terror, these four-legged heroes use their keen sense of smell to detect and warn their handlers and those in their troop against road-
side bombs, IEDs, and other explosives.

Thirty-thousand dogs have been used over the last fifty years in war. There are many different kinds of war dogs, some trained in aggression, most not. Specialties include areas like combat tracking teams (CTT), explosives detection dogs (EDD), specialized search dogs (SSD), and there are even dogs training with Special Operations Command with elite soldiers like Green Berets and Army Rangers.

The Military War Dogs develop an incredible bond with their trainers, going through 120 days of training, then living and eating together on duty. Because the dogs are deemed government property, they are ripped away from the only family they’d come to know when the handler’s tour of duty ended—until recently. In 2000, a presidential order officially changed the norm from euthanizing these brave, four-legged heroes to allowing to go through an evaluation to determine if they are adoptable. This is a huge leap forward for these beloved canines.

At a recent Dogs for Defense event, it was said that during the Vietnam war 280 dogs died. That was heart wrenching, until John C. Burnam (who served as a handler in Vietnam and wrote a book, The Dog Tags of Courage, an intense but realistic portrayal of his journeys), then Mr. Burnam said that because of these canines more than ten-thousand! In a phone interview with a former Green Beret handler, I also learned that today in Iraq & Afghanistan, one of the highest priority targets for insurgents is the military war dog units (a dog & his handler) because they are so effective in stopping attempts against our soldiers.

It is my hope in the A Breed Apart series (coming from Barbour in 2012), I can write compelling stories that will create an awareness of these military working/war dog units, show the incredible bond, and honor these heroes and their handlers.

Images are the property of DVIDS

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Be sure to visit Ronie's website and blog for more info on her books! They're greeeat, trust me, I've read them all so far! I'm so excited to read this series, aren't you? I have such a great respect for service dogs anywhere including those in the military and those dogs who help the blind and disabled. Hehehe I also have a soft spot for German Shepards since I grew up around my gram's German Shepard/Collie mix. ;-)

Don't forget each day you leave a comment you will be entered to win one of 3 gift packs I'm giving away! So don't be shy, say hi to Ronie!


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Comments

  1. I had no idea that war dogs were euthanized after their service. That's horrible!! I'm glad that is changing, though.
    I also have great respect for any type of service dog. They all just bring tears to my eyes, but I am very emotional. ;)

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  2. Wooo for Coco's Birthday! Wooo for you, Renee! And Wooo for Ronie Kendig! :-p I'm really looking forward to this new series of hers. I've enjoyed your week long celebration and all the dog stories you've shared.

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  3. It's really sad. I went to a war dog event last weekend, and the handler said the dogs are evaluated. His dog, he said with choked words, would have to be euthanized after his service was complete because he was too aggressive and would not be compatible in a domestic setting. You could tell it really tore him up.

    Aww, thank you, Sara! I'm really looking forward to this series too.

    Rene--THANK YOU for having me here. It was so fun to share!

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  4. Love the dog units! I've seen great demonstrations by handlers of the fire dogs that sniff out accelerants. One handler/dog pair we saw flies all over our part of upstate New York because there are so few trained dogs working up here. I've seen the military dog units on TV--more great stuff!

    I also loved Digitalis! Hopefully, I'll get to more of Ronie's books this summer when my tutoring slows down. Can't wait!

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  5. Wow, I didn't know that either. Kind of wish I didn't now. SIgh. Oh well, it's good to know that they provided a necessary service but I wish there was some way to save them after.

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  6. Oh my, I didn't know they euthanized the dogs either. How sad. :(

    I have a soft spot for Shepherds too, Renee. Especially since I have one and my dad has two..they are great dogs.

    I haven't ever read any of Ronie Kendig's books but they look really good. Will have to change that soon. :)

    Hope Coco had a great birthday week...did she get some cake and ice cream? ;)

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  7. Happy birthday Coco! Sorry I've missed the party this week, but I'm going to scroll back and see if I can catch up.

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  8. To anyone who hasn't read a book by Ronie, DO IT you won't regret it! :-) Thank you Ronie for stopping by to celebrate with Coco and me this week. Thank you blogger friends for partying with us too! LOVE YOU GUYS each and everyone and thank you for all your lovely comments!

    XOXO~ Renee

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