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With their keen senses, adept trainability and strong sense of loyalty, dogs not only make good pets and furry companions – they can also make great co-workers! This is especially true for military dogs who are trained to accomplish a wide range of tasks and support activities in conflict and war zones. 

National K9 Veterans Day is set aside to show appreciation to all of the working service dogs who have served and sacrificed over the years.

History of National K9 Veterans Day

For more than eighty years, canines (or K9s) have been an official part of the US military service. But even for the centuries prior, dogs have been serving faithfully alongside their masters, trained for responsibilities in search and rescue missions, attack and protection, tracking, explosive detection and much more.

National K9 Veterans Day was founded with the purpose of showing appreciation for and honoring the valuable part these canines play as members of military units. The idea for National K9 Veterans Day came from a former trainer of military working dogs named Joseph White. The celebration of this event was strategically placed on this day in commemoration of the first official K9 army corps in the US, which was started on March 13, 1942.

How to Celebrate National K9 Veterans Day

Show some heartfelt appreciation for this group of “man’s best friends” who are so well-trained that they accompany and work alongside soldiers and other military personnel on their missions. Check out some of these ideas for observing and enjoy National K9 Veterans Day:

Honor a K9 Veteran

Those who personally know or have met a K9 veteran can begin by recognizing their service and achievements. This might include posting a photo of a K9 vet on their social media accounts, buying them a special treat or taking them out for a delightful walk in celebration of National K9 Veterans Day. 

Attend a K9 Veterans Ceremony

Across the country, in observance of National K9 Veterans Day, many different military organizations and veterans groups may celebrate by hosting ceremonies to honor these working dogs.

Watch a K9 Military Dog Movie

Learn a bit more about what K9 military dogs really do by engaging with their stories. Many different stories about these warrior heroes have been told through movies, whether in the fiction or true story category. In celebration of National K9 Veterans Day, consider grabbing a friend, family member, or favorite K9 veteran and check out some of these flicks:

  • Max (2015). This adventure war drama stars Josh Wiggins along with Lauren Graham and Thomas Haden Church is based on a true story of a military K9 dog whose handler was killed in the line of duty.
  • Megan Leavey (2017). Another movie based on a true story, this film follows Megan Leavey, played by Kate Mara, who is a Marine corporal deployed in Iraq and shares her work of saving lives with her military combat dog.
  • Canine Soldiers (2018). This documentary film takes a deep look into the role of K9 military dogs, their relationships with their handlers and the impact they have on the battlefield.

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