As we’ve said before on this page, Caliber Public Safety produces a full suite of software solutions such as computer-aided dispatch, mobile, and online / cloud-based records management systems. While some of that software is meant for use on terminals and other devices, some of it is used by individual officers on their smartphones. But there is one category of law enforcement officer that, while we gladly support them too, will never be able to use our products directly… because they don’t have thumbs. Those are K9 officers, the police dogs who have a proud history of working with law enforcement and the military.

The 13th of March, in fact, is K9 Veterans Day. According to National Today, “On this day, K-9 breeders and handlers honor the service of their furry companions. K-9s serve vital roles in the military and law enforcement. They get embedded in border patrol and customs, airports, the Coast Guard, the F.B.I., the police, and even the Secret Service. This holiday also recognizes other service dogs that help people with disabilities and support animals for those with mental health issues. Service dogs often risk their health and lives to accomplish their missions. It’s only fair that we should celebrate their efforts at least once a year.”

The day was founded in 2009 by a Vietnam veteran from Florida, Joe White, who was a dog handler. (The date coincides with the 1942 founding of the US K9 Corps.) His goal was to raise awareness of the sacrifices of working military dogs (sacrifices matched by those dogs working in law enforcement). Sadly, it is not yet nationally recognized, even though it is widely observed.

The history of dogs in law enforcement and the military goes back hundreds of years. The Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Mongolians – all used dogs in a military capacity. Canine messengers and scouts saw duty in World War I and World War II, while Vietnam saw the largest deployment of military K9 units in history.  (The dogs suffered heavy losses; thousands were killed.)  The first police dogs are thought to have been deployed in the late 1800s, gaining great popularity in the United States in the 1950s.

Today, K9s serve bravely and faithfully as patrol dogs and in the detection of narcotics and explosives. It might surprise you to learn that some of these dogs even come from shelters. To honor K9 Veterans Day, National Day recommends donating to an animal shelter or even adopting a retired K9. Even if the dog you adopt or support is not specifically a military or police animal, your support of animal shelters goes a long way toward helping the overall population of dogs (and other animals) in your local area.

Military and law enforcement canine units are some of the most loyal, well-trained, and good-natured dogs you can have – fiercely protective and very loyal. It is with pride that Caliber salutes these furry “best friends” who serve so well and so tirelessly alongside the men and women of law enforcement and the military. Happy K9 Veterans day… to all the good dogs out there, who surely know who they are.