Remembering the Dogs Of War - Anzac Day 2021
In 1915, the ANZAC Troops set out on what would be more than eight months of grueling combat. By their side were thousands of animals, from horses to canaries and everything in between - including their canine companions.
Mascots of Hope
Not all dogs travelled with the soldiers to war - many were strays, collected along the way. Dogs were trained to carry medicine and messages, and to help find wounded soldiers in the dark. Many were valued purely for their companionship.
Injured, dying or alone, these loyal and dedicated dogs would stay by the side of soldiers, providing comfort and friendship in dire times.
The Red Cross utilised many dogs for these purposes.
The impeccable sense of smell and hunting abilities possessed by dogs meant that in the dead of night, in no mans land, medics were able to locate and provide assistance to the injured or fallen.
Image courtesy of nzhistory.govt.nz
The most daring of doggies were used as messenger dogs. An incredibly dangerous task, these dogs were sent through blazing battlefields to deliver messages between parties when all other communications were down.
Many successes would not have been possible, had it not been for help from these bold creatures.
It's difficult to find statistics on how many dogs were lost in battle. Cenotaphs don't include the names of all these furry friends, but we shall remember them.
Over the years, as memorabilia has made its way to museums and historians, the importance of these animals presence has become obvious. You can find photographs and stories of particular dogs who saved lives, uncovered hidden explosives, and guarded equipment.
These dogs brought not only intelligence and friendship to our troops - but joy, and fun. In the darkest of times, as many of us know, a dog can bring a smile to your face.
Dogs are still used regularly for military and special force assignments.
This Anzac day, we remember all creatures, great and small.
Real Dog Food are donating a portion of all April sales to the New Zealand Returned Services Association in memory of our brave, loyal, loving ANZAC dogs.