Memorial Day is for Canine Soldiers as well

US canine soldiers (German Shepherds) and their handlers in combat

On Memorial Day, we remember those soldiers that gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and for us, the people of the United States. Only 0.4% of the U.S. population currently serves in the military. Looking back at everyone who has ever served, the number jumps up to 7.3%, but still a very low number given the great sacrifices the men and women of the military make for all of us. Maybe that is why, on Memorial Day — a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country — the country celebrates with sales and shopping.

Putting that aside, there is also the less obvious soldier, one who also risks and gives their life for our freedom. A soldier that can’t speak for themselves. A brave soldier who too, is remembered this Memorial Day: the war dog.

Canine soldier memorial, featuring upside-down food bowls and harness

Dogs have served in the military in every major conflict dating back to “Sergeant Stubby” of the 102nd Infantry who went from mascot to hero during WWI after being smuggled into battle by Private Conway. Stubby detected enemy gas, barked out warnings when enemy troops were near and located wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

Since then the role of the military dog has advanced and become much more sophisticated, planned, and trained for. Among the list of important and lifesaving positions these canine soldiers hold are:

  • Sentry Dogs that work on a short leash and are taught to give warning by growling, alerting or barking
  • Scout / Patrol Dogs that are trained to work in silence to aid in the detection of snipers, ambushes and other enemy forces
  • Explosives Detection Dogs most recently introduced in the War on Terrorism. As a growing common threat is explosives hidden on a person, in a vehicle, or roadside location, Explosives Detection dogs are trained to alert on the scent of chemicals used in explosives. With their superior sense of smell it is very difficult to package explosives in a way a dog cannot detect. Explosives dogs have been deployed in the major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in many other locations for this purpose.

According to General David H. Petraeus, “the capability they (Military Working Dogs) bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine.” He continues by explaining that “all measures of performance their yield outperforms any asset we have in our inventory. Our Army (and military) would be remiss if we failed to invest more in this incredibly valuable resource.”

If a dog of war is lost in combat, like their human counterpart, he or she is honored by the entire unit. Bowls are symbolically placed upside down and a poem called ‘Guardians of the Night is read in their honor.

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, is home to a special monument set up to commemorate 4-pawed heroes and their handlers: the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument.

This Memorial Day, let’s remember these great dogs and their handlers who lost their lives, so that our dogs and their handlers (that would be us) may roam free in this great country.

Canine soldier memorial with bronze statues in Lackland Air Force Base

Best in Show 2017


This weekend the famous Westminster Dog Show started and is planned to continue through Tuesday.

From Agility Championships to Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups, to Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, it all culminates in the Best of Show final at Madison Square Garden.

For those who happen to be in NY, tickets are on sale ranging from $32 for an event to $100 for a full day…a single day. While the show isn’t cheap by any means, it is quite the experience to watch as both dogs, and as importantly their owners, compete for pride, glory, and honor. For some, the show is so important that they hire professional handlers to ‘show’ the dog to the judges.

According to the American Kennel Club, males and females compete separately in three classes within their breed:  Bred by Exhibitor, American-Bred, and Open. Then, all the dogs that won first place in a class compete again to see who is the best of the winning dogs. The Winners Dog and Winners Bitch then compete with the champions for the BEST OF BREED award. At the end of the Best of Breed Competition, three awards are usually given:

Best of Breed – the dog judged as the best in its breed category.

Best of Winners – the dog judged as the better of the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch.

Best of Opposite Sex – the best dog that is the opposite sex to the Best of Breed winner.

Believe it or not, at Westminster, 202 dog breeds and varieties compete in 7 groups. These are:

Sporting: These are “gun dogs” that were originally bred to assist the hunter such as Pointers and Setters that (if not obvious) point and mark the game; Spaniels that flush the bird; and Retrievers that (you guessed it) recover the game from land or water.

Hound: Hounds are hunting dogs that bring down the game themselves, or hold it at bay until the hunter arrives, or locate the game by tracking it by scent.

Working: These dogs are generally intelligent and powerfully built, performing a variety of tasks, from guarding, drafting, and police, to military and service dogs.

Terrier: comes from the Latin word, terra (ground). These dogs are small enough to “go to ground” to pursue their prey (rats, foxes, and other vermin).

Toy: Toy dogs (as their name implies) were bred to be companions for us people. They are full of life and were often bred to resemble their larger cousins (e.g. the Toy Poodle is the smallest variety of the Poodle).

Herding: These dogs’ purpose is to serve ranchers and farmers by moving livestock from one place to another.

Non-Sporting: this group is basically all the remaining dogs that do not fit any of the other groups.


victorian dog owners


So how did this whole ‘breed’ thing start you may ask?

According to the University of Manchester (U.K) specialist on the social history of pedigree dog breeding in Victorian Britain, most modern dog breeds can be traced to a gene pool from the 1850s, ’60s and ’70s.

While people have been keeping dogs for as long as 16,000 years, some experts believe that as society became more urbanized, pets became more popular as one way of staying in touch with the natural world. In 19th England, many believed that if children could be trained to take care of and be kind to their dogs, then they would grow up to be kind, responsible adults. It is in a famous portrait of Queen Victoria and her family by Sir Edwin Landseer that the dogs are shown to be an integral part of the family vs. an animal to be tied outside the house when not being used for their ‘working purpose’.

It was the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species that inspired scientists to apply his ideas about evolution to their own investigations of how change occurs in dogs over time and as a result, dog breeds were created, separated, and defined.

Today, a lot in known about the various breeds and many attributes (behavioral, personality, looks, etc.) can be identified for each….but as we all know, our own furry (or sometimes less furry) friends, are each unique unto their own, and just like us humans, are truly individual.

Enjoy the show.

Strut The Pup Team Gives Back




Our Pack Leaders, our employees, have the pleasure of working every day with dogs, cats, parrots, and other animals that are cared for as equal members of the family. But not all animals enjoy this privilege – that of being loved, fed, blanketed, and cared for. Many animals find their way to shelters – and the numbers are growing and the caring organizations need help.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, many organizations use animals to help people, be it search dogs or therapy horses. They too need help to continue providing this crucial services.

So to try and help, even in a small way,  Strut The Pup launched this year our “Pack Leaders Give Back” program and this Thanksgiving weekend, our employees took part in it for the first time.

The program enables employees to select one or more animal related charities of their choosing, here in our region, and Strut The Pup will donate funds directly to them. No questions asked. No strings attached.

In addition, the company also matches employee giving in both funds and volunteer time.

For this first year of the program, thanks to our employees, we donated to six different charities in the Seattle area including:

(Go ahead and click on them to learn more about these great organizations.)

The pets we serve are blessed with fantastic owners who love them, care for them, and provide their every need. What a great privilege it is to be able to give to those animals less fortunate and to those animals that help care for our community.


Food for Thought

What happens when the Redmond High School Animal Club and Strut The Pup join forces to help animal shelters in need of help? 550 lbs of dog food for the Seattle Humane Society shelter in Bellevue…that’s what.

Redmond High School, one of the Lake Washington School District public schools has an animal club where students who care about animals can work together to do good. One of their activities is a food drive to collect food for the hungry dogs that find themselves in the shelter on these cold winter days and nights.

As Robyn Kunkler, the teacher lead at the Animal Club pointed out, every year, between 3 and 6 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States simply because they do not have homes. They are there through no fault of their own because of decisions humans make.

Strut The Pup was happy to be called upon to support this great cause. Not only does this support the animals, but it supports the education and growth of the great students at the high school. What a great opportunity for these young students (perhaps future pack leaders) to be part of something greater than themselves and help an important cause.


dog food delivery
Strut The Pup’s Einat Ganzarski delivers the 550lbs of dog food to the Redmond High School Animal Club

Veteran’s Day – The Dog Soldier

veteran dogs in cemetery


For Veterans’ Day, here are some interesting tidbits about the 4-legged soldier:

Strut The Pup salutes our veterans and wants to ensure we don’t forget the four-legged veterans and the roles they play in the service of our country. To that end, here are some interesting tidbits about the military service dogs.

Dogs have served with soldiers in the military in every major conflict

“Sergeant Stubby” of the 102nd Infantry went from mascot to hero during WWI after being smuggled into battle by Private Conway. Stubby detected enemy gas, barked out warnings when enemy troops were near and located wounded soldiers on the battlefield. By the start of WWII, 20 years later, the U.S military recognized the value of dogs in the service and began using them for recon missions.

Military dog training

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX has been training dogs since 1958. More than 1,000 dogs are in training at any given time by a staff of 125 from all branches of military service. Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds are predominantly used because they are intense, intelligent, and known for their ability to work hard. Most puppies are bought from Europe for about $3,100 each, and once trained, they are worth much more. A highly trained bomb detection dog is estimated to be worth about $150,000!

Why dogs are so good at finding bombs

The number of smell receptors in a human’s nose ranges from 5 million to 15 million. In a dog, it can range from 125 million to 250 million. Now that’s a good smeller…

Moreover, the olfactory portion of a dog’s brain is four times larger than a human’s. The wet black noses are so sensitive they can detect minute odors. Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama found that dogs can pick up scents as little as 500 parts per trillion.


Not all dogs make it through training

Many try to become Navy Seals but don’t make it. Same is said of Rangers and Delta Force. Why would we expect any less of the elite dog soldier? Only 50% of dogs that enter the training program make it through to become soldier dogs.

Like their human counterparts, dog soldiers also die in combat

If a dog of war is lost in combat, he or she is honored by the entire unit. Bowls are symbolically placed upside down and a poem called ‘Guardians of the Night is read in their honor.



Guardians Of The Night – Author: Unknown

Trust in me my friend for I am your comrade. I will protect you with my last breath When all others have left you And the loneliness of the night closes in, I will be at your side.

Together we will conquer all obstacles, And search out those who might wish harm to others. All I ask of you is compassion, The caring touch of your hands. It is for you that I will unselfishly give my life And spend my nights unrested. Although our days together May be marked by the passing of the seasons Know that each day at your side is my reward.

My days are measured by The coming and going of your footsteps. I anticipate them at every opening of the door. You are the voice of caring when I am ill. The voice of authority when I’ve done wrong.

Do not chastise me unduly For I am your right arm, The sword at your side. I attempt to do only what you bid of me. I seek only to please you and remain in your favor.

Together you and I shall experience A bond only others like us will understand When outsiders see us together Their envy will be measured by their disdain.

I will quietly listen to you And pass no judgment, Nor will your spoken words be repeated I will remain ever silent, Ever vigilant, ever loyal. And when our time together is done And you move on in the world Remember me with kind thoughts and tales, For a time we were unbeatable, Nothing passed among us undetected.

If we should meet again on another street I will gladly take up your fight, I am a Police Working Dog and together We are guardians of the night.