Dogs of War - Shep the German Shepherd
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Throughout history, dogs have accompanied man at work and play. Even in the midst of men’s wars, dogs have been found serving in functions ranging from mascots to weapons of war. Therefore, it was not without precedence that in 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the entrance of the United States into World War II, a small group of civilian dog enthusiasts approached the Army about creating a program that would utilize the special traits and skills of “man’s best friend” in order to further the war effort.
When the Japanese attacked on 7 December 1941, the U.S. Army possessed only a small number of sled dogs for use in arctic regions. Drawing on the lessons of the past, a group of civilians came together in the belief that dogs could serve the Army in a variety of other functions. These dog fanciers formed a coalition called Dogs for Defense, Inc. (DFD). This organization encouraged dog owners across the country to donate their dogs for training as sentry dogs that would be used to patrol borders, beaches, and industrial facilities in order to prevent sabotage. With the endorsement of the American Kennel Club, DFD quickly began procuring dogs for experiments in training the animals for guard duty under the nominal oversight of the Plant Protection Branch of the Office of the Quartermaster General. In short order, some 100 dogs were procured by DFD and an ad hoc training program was initiated.
"Shep" the German Shepherd measures 12" long and wears a blue bandanna honoring the Dogs For Defense program with it's WWII logo.