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Monday morning (3/14/2011) "Morning Express with Robin Meade" welcomed two retired military contractor dogs, Ivy and Nugget, onto the set. After their service sniffing out explosives in Iraq, these pups and many others need homes.

The official press release from the group that brought Ivy and Nugget to the states is below... if you are interested in providing these heroes a place to retire keep reading:

SPCA International Announces U.S. Arrival of 7 Heroic Working Dogs from Iraq

In an emotional journey, several dogs that worked tirelessly as contractors in Iraq for the U.S. Military and Coalition Forces are arrived in America this week for adoption after their many years of service in Iraq. The dogs worked primarily in the %u2018Green Zone%u2019 where they sniffed out explosives in vehicles at checkpoints, in military bases and buildings, at the airport and in hotels where Americans stayed while on business in Baghdad. Some of the dogs worked in land mine detection as well.

%u201CWe are extremely happy to be able to give these wartime heroes a new life in loving, caring homes after all their years of service in Iraq,%u201D said Terri Crisp of the SPCA International ( %u201CThese animals played an important and noble role protecting civilians and military personnel in Iraq and they deserve a comfortable retirement filled with love.%u201D

The seven working dogs originally come from South Africa where they were trained before being relocated to Iraq where they worked for a security contractor based in Baghdad. One of the dogs%u2019 biggest discoveries while in service came when they found a rocket at the Al Mansour Hotel in Baghdad where several Americans and members of the media were staying at the time of the detection. It is believed the dogs%u2019 discovery may have saved hundreds of lives.

The dogs were retired from service at a typical age for service animals of their kind. Late in 2010, SPCA International learned that these American heroes were living in solitary dog runs with little hope of a happy future. Since then, SPCA International supporters have rallied around the dogs donating funds to help bring them to the United States and collecting over 7,000 signatures in support of their safe return.

The dogs range in age from 5 years old to 8. They are all in good health, except for one dog, Nugget, whose epilepsy forced his early retirement. All are very well-trained and behaved. Currently, three of the seven dogs have adoptive homes awaiting their arrival, but SPCA International is still looking for the right homes for the remaining four. People interested in giving these wartime heroes an honorable retirement in a loving home can email SPCA International at to enter the screening process.

For more information, go to

Filed under: Extras %u2022 Salute to Troops
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At the onset of WWII, the United States still had not considered the idea of war dogs, even though many of her Allies had been using them successfully since WWI.

Nonetheless, it took the attack on Pearl Harbor to initiate a group of civilians to get together and try to convince the US army about the value of dogs in warfare.

Alene Erlanger, dog breeder and exhibitor, along with dog fancier Arthur Kilbon got together and had a meeting with Leonard Brumby the President of the Professional Handler%u2019s Association, Dorothy J. Long an authority on obedience training, and Harry L. Ceasar the American Kennel Club Director. This meeting officially established Dogs for Defense in January of 1942.

The organization%u2019s focus was on sentry dogs for the United States and US coast lines. At the time, no thought was given to using dogs in combat. Organizations such as kennel clubs and dog trainers became a part of Dogs for Defense, and while the American Kennel Club supported the group, it did not officially participate in its affairs.

Even with the establishment of Dogs for Defense, the US military was not interested in using dogs in warfare. Finally, Maj. Gen. Edmund B. Gregory and Lt. Col. Clifford C. Smith, Chief of the Plant Protection Branch met to discuss army security. Smith had heard about the idea for sentry dogs and suggested the idea to Gregory. He agreed to try a dog training experiment with 200 dogs to see if it would work. On March 13, 1942 Dogs for Defense became the official agency in the selection and training of United States sentry dogs.

March 13, 1942 became the official day that the United States recognized the Military War dog. It marked the beginning of a new relationship between dog and handler, and would test the boundaries of trust, loyalty, and dedication.

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