(This post is a tribute to all dogs of the armed forces and other services that go above and beyond the call of duty)
As most of you probably know, I’m a very proud owner of a Doberman.
His name is Buster and he didn’t have the greatest start in life.
It would seem that Buster became a stray at a very young age, and remained so for a long time.
He was taken to a local National Animal Welfare Trust centre, and it was not long before he had a new family.
The family had Buster for five years of his life, and then decided they didn’t want him anymore, after a marriage break up. He was taken back to the NAWT centre with a very bad case of ‘Lick Granuloma’ which is a common condition for Dobermans and is often caused by anxiety. It is when the dog repeatedly licks its leg until its red raw sometimes chewing it as well. This condition was exacerbated by Buster being left on his own for days at a time.
So after being taken back to the centre, he was there for two weeks when myself and my wife arrived at the NAWT centre we went to donate bowls, food etc, as our previous dog (Rupert) died 6 weeks prior to our visit.
Whilst we were donating, my wife and I thought we would have a look at some of the dogs and cats (fatal mistake).
We came across Buster who stood out from the rest and we both immediately fell in love with him.
Buster became part of our family so quickly and he and I, are inseparable, I think of him as the brother that I never had.
Dobermans have a reputation for being aggressive, this is a stereotype used mainly in films etc where the Doberman is a vicious guard dog and will rip you to shreds if you so much as glance at it sideways.
In fact, they are quite the opposite.
They are highly loyal, intelligent, and make fine companions.
They are also incredibly obedient and easy to train (although one must show the Dobie who is in charge otherwise they will rule the roost).
The high intelligence and adaptability of the Doberman, became used to full effect by the military in the Second World War and the use of Combat dogs of other breeds has continued in other conflicts across the years.
In WWII the U.S Marine Corp used dogs in combat (something that was already tried and tested in WWI by the Germans) they were utilised as scouts, couriers, and infantry dogs,
During WWII, approximately 75% of dogs used during combat were Doberman pinschers, with 25% German Shepherds. Through a non-profit organisation, Dogs for Defence, the public could loan their family dogs to the Marine Corps. The Doberman Pinscher Club of America also supplied many of the war dogs.
Known as ‘Devil Dogs’ the Dog handlers rigorously trained their canine comrades over a period of six weeks in scouting and mine detection amongst other things they were also trained to use signals as opposed to barking. The War-Dog platoons were mainly stationed in several areas of the Pacific.
One of many tales of ‘Devil Dog’ bravery is that of Kurt, A Doberman who saved the lives of 250 U.S. Marines July 23 1944 on Guam. Brave Kurt went ahead of the troops, pointing to alert them to a presence of approaching Japanese soldiers.
Sadly, Kurt was mortally wounded by a Japanese grenade. He became the first to be buried in what would become the war dog cemetery and he is the dog depicted in bronze, sitting quiet but alert atop the World War II War Dog Memorial, along with 24 other brave Dobermans whose names are also inscribed on the memorial.
Kurts bravery and loyalty saved the lives of many men on that day, his sacrifice to those around him is a tale that should always be remembered.
25 dogs died in service in the Pacific many of those were on Guam. To commemorate the Dobermans service the ‘Always Faithful’ memorial was placed at the United States Marine Corp War Dog’s Cemetery on Guam.
Kurt and his troop of Wonder Dogs will never be forgotten, a beautiful yet tragic example of mans best friend’s loyalty and love to man.