Celebrating The Pups That Gave Their Lives For Us

A look back at the dogs of war.

When we look at the lives lost in war -- both past and present -- it's easy to forget how many lives have actually been saved, by man's best friend.

Every year on June 7 the Australian Defence Force celebrates the contribution of our canine heroes with the Military Working Dog Day.

Dogs have played key roles during wartime across the world. They have worked as scouts, trackers  and transportation.

“Many more lives would be lost during conflicts if it wasn’t for dogs, they are a massive asset to our defence troops,” RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend said.

Military dogs are recognised each year on June 7 because this is the day in 2010 when Australian Sapper Darren Smith and Sapper Jacob Moerland, died as a result of an explosive device detonated in Afghanistan. Their Collie cross, Herbie, who was also killed in the blast.

RAAF Commanding Officer Forster Breckenridge said the dogs deserve praise for their efforts to save lives.

“The bond between soldiers and their dogs is crucial and the day is really great opportunity to celebrate this,” he said.

Here's a look back at dogs during wartime:

A soldier writes a message to give back to a French messenger dog on the Western Front in Belgium during World War I in 1917


Dogs used to pull the machine guns of the Belgian army during WWI

Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

French soldiers in a trench, Chemin des Dames, France.  One soldier operating the signaling device, another one keeping a sentinel dog on a lead during the  First World War,  1917.

Photograph from the magazine L'Illustration. Photo:  DEA/BIBLIOTECA AMBROSIANA

Dogs employed by the Italian Army for the transportation of water during World War I in Italy.

Photo: Getty Images