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I recently watched the film “Max,” a beautiful exploration into the life of an American hero, and his loyal companion: his dog Max. I have always admired our soldiers who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy, but this film opened my eyes to the many canine contributions in the military as well. It has strengthened my dedication to animal rights, because I now have a greater appreciation for these dogs’ intellect and infectious hearts. These loving hearts have saved lives and committed acts of heroism amidst the ravages of war.

Max the movie

Throughout our history since the Civil War, service dogs have been deployed, and have aided soldiers in both combat positions and overseas operations. Their keen sense of smell and sharp hearing abilities have proven them to be skilled partners in war. Before paired with a handler, the dogs undergo hours of rigorous and specialized training to ensure their future success. It is then decided which units of the military that they would best succeed in; patrol, tracking, or detection.

Dogs are not only possessed with pure and special souls—they are embedded with a love of humanity. They are sincere and tender, and within their nature they are constantly caring for their owners and handlers. They take on a responsibility for their human companions, as one cares for a loved one, and that is why we owe them our utmost love and respect. May we always honor the memories of our fallen service dogs.