Lest We Forget
As Australia continues to commemorate the Centenary of Anzac, it is not only our diggers whom we remember. Australian heroes came in all different shapes, sizes… and species.
We all know the story about the Australian soldier Simpson and his brave Donkey, and the role that horses have played on the battlefields of war, but did you know that dogs and cats have also played an integral part in Australia’s wartime efforts?
Many arms of the Australian Defence Force utilise Military Working Dogs. Military Working Dogs provide specialist sensory, detection and protection capabilities across a range of environments – both domestically and overseas. Dogs provide a sense of smell and hearing far superior to that of a human, are obedient and responsive when well trained, and can operate effectively for extended periods. Military Working Dogs come in a variety of breeds and ages, and are sourced directly from breeders and animal rescue organisations. In face mixed breeds have shown to be just as effective in explosive detection dogs as pure bred dogs. Military Working Dogs form a very close relationship with their designated handler, and indeed with all members of the units they are posted to, and are regarded as an integral component of their respective units. Where possible, military work dogs will retire to their handler’s home at the end of their Defence Force service. After their service, much like their human comrades a number of checks are undertaken to ensure the dog can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement after their loyal service.
In World War 2 a dog named Horrie, used a distinctive bark to warn the battalion that the enemy was approaching. He was given the service number EX1 and travelled to Greece, Crete, Palestine, and Syria before being smuggled into Australia. Horrie has also been immortalised on one of the 2015 six coin series released as part of the Royal Australian Mint’s $1 coloured frosted uncirculated coin range.
More recently it has been a dog named Sarbi that has made worldwide headlines. Sarbi was deployed in Afghanistan, and was presumed dead after an ambush between the SAS and the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2008 — the first military working dog to go missing in action. She was taken prisoner of war by the Taliban who moved her from compound to compound before she was discovered 13 months later by a US Special Forces soldier and returned to her battalion. The army explosive detection dog was awarded the highest military honour for canine warriors, the War Dog Operational Medal, as well as the prestigious Purple Cross by the RSPCA for her war-time services.
What about Cats I hear you say. Cats are often overlooked in the history of military animals, and for the most part, all of our famous wartime cats became so during the 1st and 2nd World Wars, when cats were still very much a part of the naval service. These were the days when it was essential to have a good ratter/mouser on board to protect the food stores. Like their human counterparts, some cats performed above and beyond their daily service. In other cases, the cats were not official members of the service, but they showed courage under fire, or assisted in the survival of troops on the ground. The feline mascot of the HMAS Encounter peering out of the cannon is featured on one of the 2015 six coin series released as part of the Royal Australian Mint’s $1 coloured frosted uncirculated coin range.
Along with our digger we remember all creatures great and small who contributed their strength, energy and lives to the Australian Imperial Forces and the Australian Defence Force and helped to define the spirit of our great nation.
Lest we Forget.
Our featured product for May is ...
Watch and Grow's Teeth Cleansers
Watch and Grow is a unique holistic pet food company in Melbourne, Australia. They pride themselves on providing the highest quality ingredients available for pets.
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Kangaroo meat is one of the best you can feed your dog - its low in fat, high in protein and has hypoallergenic properties. The bones are dehydrated, not cooked so they won't splinter making them a much safer alternative to other bones on the market.
A Million Paws Walking Together
Sydney Peeps come see us and support a worthy cause. PetPacks will be holding a stall at the RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk on May 17th at Olympic Park in Sydney. Come check us out and pick up a box for your four legged mate at a special show price. Not in Sydney? We will have a special for our friends in other areas check us out on instagram on the day to find out more. The Million Paws Walk is the RSPCA's major national fundraiser. Every year, over 80,000 people and 45,000 pets hit the pavement to raise much needed funds for the RSPCA.