The 24th of February was in recent years declared National Day for War Animals.
This is because animals have played vital roles in the support and protection of Australian soldiers during war and warlike operations. Horses and camels provided transport, birds aided communication across enemy lines, dogs tracked enemies and protected soldiers from improvised explosive devices, and a range of animals served as companions or unit mascots across all conflicts.
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra unveiled a new memorial dedicated to military working dogs and their handlers on the day.
Circling Into Sleep was created with help from an Explosive Detection Dog called Billie and her handler. Billie was trained to walk in a tight circle on a bed of soft clay to create the paw-print track which spirals into the memorial, representing the steps of a dog as it circles into sleep.
The ashes of Aussie, Military Working Dog 426, were interred within the memorial on 4 December 2019. As a military working dog, Aussie served in Australian domestic and international operations including the Solomon Islands in 2004 and four deployments to Afghanistan with the Explosive Detection Dog Team. Described as a tireless worker, Aussie began to slow down after retirement and died in 2017, aged 16.
For more of Aussie’s story go here:
I will confess that one of my favourite animated films is Valiant, a 2005 effort, that highlights the work undertaken by pigeons during war. Little Valiant flying across the English Channel to the tune of The Dambusters is a classic.
Coincidentally, I just finished reading Judy by Damien Lewis. O.M.G what a tale !
Amazing stuff. Totally amazing.