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September 06, 2014

No Dog Left Behind [Y-not]

I have a weakness for our furry friends, both dogs AND cats, so this article by Jonah Goldberg caught my eye:

Military dogs are enlisted (drafted actually) to identify enemy locations, to seek out bombs, and protect bases. It is dangerous, often traumatic work. The dogs are credited with saving countless U.S. and allied lives, which is why the Taliban actively targets our dogs of war. While on active service, each dog is given a higher rank than its handler.

That is, right up until the moment these dogs are "retired." Once they are too old, too shell-shocked or simply not needed, the dogs are automatically declared equipment that can be left behind like a latrine tent. The military sometimes says they are "retired" and become "civilians," but the result is the same because these civilians dont have a right to military transport home.

Read the whole thing (it's short). Legislation has been introduced to address these issues, but it has languished:

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC) introduced the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. The legislation would streamline the adoption of the military working dogs after they retire and improve veterinary care for them at no expense to taxpayers.

Since the Administration and Congress (House and especially the Senate) seem unwilling or unable to tackle the Big Problems our country faces, how about tackling a smaller one?

**UPDATED: Here is a more in-depth story also from this year that was published in The Daily Signal, which is a news organ of Heritage Foundation:

The secretary of defense also is given the authority to "establish and maintain a system to provide for the veterinary care of retired military working dogs."

However, there is an odd caveat: No federal funds are allowed to be appropriated to provide for such veterinary care.

Ganzert praises Congress and the military for taking steps to address retirement of the dogs, but says the issue is the NDAA's use of the word "may" before the word "transfer," which, she says, provides a loophole for the military.

So the thing Obama signed has wording that is, apparently, leaving it optional for the military to return the dogs to their handlers.

Also related to the idea of "no dog left behind," here's a news story out of Texas I've been tracking that I wanted to bring to your attention:

HOUSTON Elaine Kmiec, the woman who the Houston Collie Rescue group seized 97 collies from, faced Judge David Jones in bankruptcy court Thursday morning.

Her attorney had requested to be removed from the case, he cited, because of failure to communicate with his client and conflict of interest, according to court documents. He had purchased a rescue collie and has donated to the charity, in the past.

In court, Kmiec admitted to lying under oath in a previous court appearance when she stated she had only 35 dogs in her care. She admitted to keeping dogs at her father's residence, and now having those at her residence after the rescue group had finished taking the initial 97.

At one point, Jones became frustrated with Kmiec and threatened to have her arrested if she continued to lie under oath.

Houston Collie Rescue now has 120 dogs in their care. If you are looking for a gentle, loyal, and low-key (especially the rough variety) companion and are in Texas or surrounding states, consider adopting one of these dogs. They are wonderful.

In case you don't realize it, Scottish collies come in two varieties, the "rough" version (which is what Lassie and Texas A & M's Reveille are) and a "smooth" version. They are the same dog (you can get both roughs and smooths in the same litter of puppies), although a lot of us think of them as having different temperaments and they had somewhat different working purposes. Roughs tend to be mellower and were used not only as herders but to watch over the flock. Smooths tend to be more active, perhaps in keeping with their use as drovers. Both varieties have double coats and both shed, but the smooth collies are much lower maintenance. Roughs need regular grooming. (I get mine washed every 6 weeks, give or take.) Collies are somewhat cat-like in that they are very clean and groom themselves. And rough collies, in particular, have little to no doggy smell.

Here are our two collie girls, a smooth sable and a rough tri-color, doing their take on "ExJoning":


Open thread.

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posted by Open Blogger at 06:58 PM

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