Finding online reports of animal heroism, I wrote perhaps a dozen letters or emails to reporters who had written stories of heroic animal deeds or to people who told of owing their lives to an animal. I got no reponses. In time, however, the searches turned up Kevin Hanrahan, a self-described writer, soldier, and dog advocate, who blogs about today's Military Working Dogs. Of some 600 dogs who trained for months to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011, 116 died in service. Kevin introduced me to the handler of one of the survivors, Anax, who lost a leg - but not his life, thanks to his handler, Marc. During a firefight, with bullets flying over their heads, Marc and Anax, on a leash attached to his belt, ran for an empty mud hut nearby. But Anax couldn't follow - he'd been shot in both back legs. Marc ran back for his dog , dragged him to the hut and called for a medic as the light in Anax's eyes began to fade. Before leaving with half of the platoon, the medic gave Marc an IV and bandages for Anax. A medevac was arriving a mile away and, unable to get the IV in, Marc picked up and began carrying Anax to the site. Physically and emotionally exhausted from six hours of fierce combat and the injuries to his buddy, Marc himself collapsed. A Czech soldier came to his aid and then, a truck-driving Afghan, who took Marc and Anax to the medevac site. They were flown to an Army veterinary hospital in Germany, where Anax's shattered left rear leg had to be amputated, thus allowing Anax to retire and eventually to be adopted by Marc, thanks to legislation signed by President Clinton allowing adoption of Military Working Dogs.
Please read Kevin's blog to learn more about Marc and of the harrowing events during and after Anax's rescue and of the government's prior treatment of MWDs - considered "equipment" - when no longer "useful."
www.stripes.com - for more background
http://offthebase.wordpress.com - more background
http://pinterest.com/militarydogs - MWD photos