Tales of Animals in War - 2013 Edition

Our Animal Friends

Hey everybody!

Here we are in Ottawa at the new national memorial dedicated to animals that have served in war. The Animals in War Dedication has footprints of dogs, horses and mules, to remind us of the mark they left on the battlefield. There are also three bronze plaques that have carved images and interesting facts about the animals, their sacrifices, and their loyalty to their human friends. A life-size bronze dog sits, wearing a medical backpack that some war dogs carried in the First World War.

“Did you know that dogs risked their lives in wars, carrying messages, protecting humans, rescuing wounded, being mascots and alerting humans of bombs? Dogs are still employed by the Canadian Armed Forces today to find explosives, as well as in search and rescue operations because of their special senses of smell and hearing,” barked Gandy the dog.

“It is also estimated that eight million horses and mules were killed while providing transportation to soldiers and equipment in the past century alone. Horses served in the cavalry on the battlefield, and they hauled supplies through mud and up rocky hillsides while dodging bullets and explosions!” neighed Bonfire Jr. the horse.

“Elephants also carried men through steamy jungles and over mountains, and they hauled ammunition,” trumpeted Ellie the elephant. “The battlefields were terribly difficult places for animals, just as they were for humans.”

“Yeah, pigeons flew through fog, darkness and gunfire, even while wounded, to deliver important messages to help save their human friends in distress,” squawked Squeaker the pigeon.

“That’s why animals and humans also looked to each other for comfort during war,” meowed Simone the cat. “My relative served as a mascot on a warship that was attacked. Even though he was wounded, he cuddled with the sailors to help them get through that difficult time.”

“My relative was a loveable mascot for some Canadian soldiers during the First World War. She was like their furry pal! In the military, animal mascots still often serve as pets to the soldiers, and they provide fun and friendship,” said Win the bear.

Brave Canadian men and women would have suffered even more in times of war had it not been for the special help of animals. With this new monument in Canada, the efforts and sacrifices of these courageous animals are finally recognized.

Try creating a special monument in your classroom!

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