Watching tonight’s newscast, I saw a wonderful story on Ally. She was found as a quite young and abandoned puppy. Without the kindness of our soldiers she surely would not have made it. The 101st Airborne in Afghanistan adopted the little pup. It sounds like she won them over fast and made a great contribution to morale. The report indicated that she even stood in formation and was inseparable from her Army family. It stands to reason that having dogs in units gives those in uniform something wonderful to focus on. It helps them look beyond themselves and the difficult situation they must endure. I write to suggest the military greatly expand and in a deliberate manner, the presence of dogs in units.
Studies show the human-animal bond is medically beneficial to people. Animals improve our mental state. Think of the benefit to troops to hug or pet an animal after a difficult firefight. Animals also improve a number of physical measures such as blood pressure and stress. The military is beginning to understand this and currently has therapy dogs in use in certain theaters. Obviously it is no one’s goal to put animals in harms way. But the number of animals euthanized each year by Humane Societies and shelters suggests that the only hope for many animals might be military service. I believe a greater use of therapy animals in the military should be expanded.
What the 101st Airborne did for Ally is both beautiful and a natural human reaction. What is more amazing than adopting her in the field are the efforts so many took to bring her back to the States when the unit shipped home. I applaud Pilots N Paws and everyone involved in this touching story. Thanks too to ABC and Charlie Gibson for sharing this good news. Go Army!