A woman has suggested that we should all leave our porch lights on tonight in remembrance of the two Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan this past week. I think this is a nice tribute to those two brave men but one must also remember that a sniffer dog was also killed when the soldiers were killed.
Men (and women these days) know the dangers of going into a war zone but I doubt that animals do realise this. They are trained in all aspects of their work whether it be sniffing out drugs or bombs but there is no way they can be warned of what could happen to them. People joining the armed forces know that one day they may be called on to make the supreme sacrifice but animals don't have that choice.
Last week I heard a gentleman being interviewed on radio here in Perth who had been in the Australian Army and whose job involved training and working with these dogs trained to sniff out bombs. He now works for an American firm and was once again on his way to Afghanistan to work. He spoke of the heartbreak that is felt by dog handlers should one of their dogs be killed. I was also interested to hear that when the dogs are retired the handler has first choice of becoming the owner of that dog which I thought that was great.
Over the centuries horses in particular have been involved in wars and have sustained some hideous injuries and even carrier pigeons have been shot at by the enemy to stop them reaching their destination with their precious message.
Many young Australian men joined the army to fight during World War 2 and took their precious horses with them when they left to fight overseas and hundreds of those horses were killed or badly injured.
We always think of the soldiers that suffer dreadfully but seldom give much thought to the animals that are in the line of fire as well and in just as much danger. They have no weapons with which to fight back and are at the mercy of humans whom I am afraid sometimes regard them as tools and not as living creatures. I don't think this is as true now as in the past but my heart goes out to all winged or 4-legged creatures for the wonderful work they do in all sections of the community and indeed the world.
We are leaving our porch light on tonight not only in remembrance of the two soliders who were sadly killed but also in memory of that little canine soldier who died. May they all 3 rest in peace.