Dogs have been used in war from since the start of civilization. The Greeks and Romans used dogs as sentries or patrols, although they were also taken into battle. It was during the Seminole Wars that dogs were first officially used in the U.S. military. Since then, dogs have served as messengers, guard dogs and propaganda mascots. They have also been used in experimental medical treatments, detection and tracking, scouts, law enforcement, search and rescue, drug and explosives detection, therapy dogs and for intimidation purposes.
The bond between handlers and their combat canines is extraordinary, and holds special significance. Because many handlers and canines rotate through platoons or join units that have been together for months, even years, they are often outsiders. The strength of this partnership makes it easier to endure the feeling of being an outsider.
For injured and wounded veterans, dog therapy has proven exceptionally effective in aiding in recovery from PTSD. They also serve as companion animals and service dogs.
Dogs are known for their loyalty, affection and faithfulness. These characteristics are what make military dogs four-legged heroes.