Life’s good for pets and people in our land of the free. This Memorial Day, Woof Report honors the individuals who help keep it that way. We salute the courageous men, women and dogs who lost their lives working together in military service. In their honor, we explore how dogs continue to support veterans back home in our nation’s capital.

Meet America’s DOG TAGS recruits. Half of them are canine, the other half injured, but they’ve never been more ready for action. The innovative DOG TAGS program, based in Washington D.C., unites injured soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center with the homeless dogs of Washington Humane Society. Together for 21 weeks, they pair off for a boot camp like no other. The volunteer soldiers learn humane dog training complete with lectures on theory and behavior, and get the therapeutic benefit of spending time with animals and helping others. The dogs get a break from the shelter while learning socialization skills and behaviors they need to find permanent homes. There’s no question about it, all involved benefit greatly. By Graduation Day, the soldiers have a foundation for a future career with dogs and the shelter dogs are ready for the loving adoptive homes they deserve.

Located just across the street from the medical center, the Washington Humane Society serves as the first step back into a prosperous civilian life. By tapping into the power of the human/dog bond, together pets and people jumpstart the healing process. Woof Report sees it as yet another triumph of the power of the pup. Sure, the shelter dogs learn new skills, but they contribute their expertise to this operation too. The shelter dog: America’s top resource for friendship, commitment and of course, love. 

The Scoop:

Learn more about the Washington Humane Society’s DOG TAGS program and find out out to help.

Additional programs that need your support:

Operation Baghdad Pups
S.P.C.A. International, a Washington-based charity, began “Operation Baghdad Pups,” an initiative created to provide medical care, clearance and transport for the animals our U.S. soldiers have come to love (and that have helped them cope) during deployment in the Middle East.

Vet Dogs
America’s VetDogs, a subsidiary of the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, offers guide and service dogs to veterans of all eras. The program provides service dogs to members of the military recently wounded in combat and deploys therapy dogs to Iraq to help relieve combat stress of soldiers in the field.


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