TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Tyndall Air Force Base’s 325th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers are honoring K9 Veterans Day, which falls on March 13, by hosting a donation drive from March 1-15 for local animal shelters and the Military Working Dog Team Support Association.
Six donation points were set up around the installation and local area for people to drop off dog and cat food, toys, treats and other supplies to show their support for K9 veterans, raising over $1,000 so far.
“It is rewarding to give back to agencies like MWDTSA because they do so much for dog teams down range and for retired MWDs and their families,” explained Staff Sgt. Briana Irven, 325th SFS MWD handler. “It is rewarding to help local animal shelters who are [low manned] and do things like send care packages and create plaques honoring the dogs.”
Tyndall’s MWD handlers say K9 Veterans Day allows them to honor MWD heroes who deserve the same remembrance and recognition as the people who serve. Tyndall is currently home to four MWDs trained in a variety of skills, including the detection of explosives and drug paraphernalia, tracking down suspects and patrolling the installation. Two of Tyndall’s four-legged defenders recently retired.
“It is important to the handlers that our MWDs are recognized,” Irven added. “They are part of a team that is responsible for saving hundreds of [American’s] lives and leading our personnel in the right directions down range, whether that be to explosives or terrorists.”
Team Tyndall’s MWDs also regularly participate in MWD demonstrations that allow other military organizations and the public to gain a better understanding of their mission.
“Seeing these dogs do what they love gives people a much better understanding of the difference between a working dog and a house pet,” Irven concluded. “These dogs have a job to do and all of them are determined to accomplish the Air Force mission.”