A new Sussex charity, based in Coolham, which is dedicated to the amazing jobs dogs do in war time is delighted to announce it has received its newly registered charity number 1162744 and would like to invite readers to remember their own dogs in a very special way this Remembrance Day.
Every November, Julia Robertson, War Dogs’ founder, and her colleagues travel to Ypres, Belgium, to take part in the Poppy Parade on Armistice Day, laying wreaths at the Menin Gate in remembrance of all the dogs that have taken part in the world wars and recent conflicts.
You can support War Dogs Remembered by donating £5 or more to have their dogs’ names included on these specially designed wreaths. For the last two years Julia has taken her dog, Molly, to Ypres where she wore a coat that said ‘pet dogs like me saved thousands of soldiers’ lives’.
The response to Molly was overwhelming and it became very clear how few people were aware of war dogs. The idea for the charity was born.
Dogs have been used in warfare since ancient times as their obedience, dedication, and loyalty combined with their speed and agility make them an invaluable asset.
Although the longest serving of all the animals to take part in wars dogs are probably the least known about until recently.
These days military dogs are specifically selected and trained. They are usually used as search dogs, sniffing for mines and explosives or as guard dogs. But over the ages war dogs have had a variety of roles.
For example, in the World Wars when many war dogs were donated pets, they were messengers carrying orders and supplies to the front line, sentries, patrol dogs, and search & rescue dogs. Many modern day agility course obstacles originate from this time, for example, the nine foot long jump was the distance supply and messenger dogs jumped over a WW1 trench.
War Dogs Remembered will build fixed agility courses in prominent locations all over the UK dedicated to different war dogs with plaques and activities to educate visitors about their achievements.
Julia Robertson is passionate about the many ways in which dogs help humans.
She says: “Man and dog have had a special relationship since the Ice Age and dogs regularly top the chart as the most popular pet in Britain.
“But in my mind there is no better example of how special dogs are when you learn about their bravery and loyalty on the battle field. We hope the sites we build will enlighten people about how amazing the species is and their individual stories.”
Report and picture contributed by Beth Richardson.