Did you know dogs have served our country as far back as World War I?
And each story is as extraordinary as each individual dog.
American K9 Heroes is dedicated to highlighting and supporting the training, service, expertise, heroics and well-deserved retirement of our police and military dogs.
Each K9 hero selected will be honored with a limited-production plush toy replica with their story and available for sale to support the dogs who protected our freedom.
Just like their handlers, our military and police K9s go to work every day not knowing if they will ever see their home or loved ones again.
These dogs are trained to save American lives and sacrifice their own lives if asked through a handler’s command. Since WWI, these dogs have performed heroic acts.
Smoky, the Tiny World War II War Dog Hero
Smoky, a four-pound, 7 inches tall Yorkshire Terrier, proves war dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Found in the New Guinea jungle by an American soldier during WWII, Smoky was later sold to another soldier, Corporal William A. Wynne from Cleveland, OH. Wynne and Smoky stayed together for the next two years of the war and Wynne credits his dog with saving his life by guiding him away from the incoming fire on a transport ship. In addition, Smoky survived the relentless heat, limited food rations, typhoons, air raids, combat missions and even a 30ft parachute jump (she had her own special parachute)! Smoky has also been credited with saving 250 US soldiers during World War II.
Smoky Goes On to Serve as the 1st Therapy Dog
Smoky is also now recognized as the first therapy dog, as she spent many hours both during the war and back home visiting veterans and entertaining them with the varied collections of tricks that Wynne taught her. After the war, Smoky and Wynne made numerous TV appearances together, performing tricks and telling their amazing story. Smoky lived in Cleveland with Wynne and his family until her death in 1957 at age 14. On Veterans Day in 2005, a memorial for Smoky was unveiled in the Rocky Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks in Lakewood, Ohio. The statue features the tiny dog sitting inside a combat helmet, smiling her trademark smile.
Our Heroic Police and Military War Dogs
It wasn’t until I was in the service that I really appreciated dogs. I saw firsthand the loyalty that they had for their trainers and their handlers. These dogs were special, highly trained K9s unlike the ones that I had when I was younger. They were trained to do one job … to save American lives through various duties.
After I got out of the service I continued to have dogs as my pets. But it wasn’t until I met a veteran who had adopted his dog after both of them had served two tours in Iraq. We met a few times and he told me about military dog training. It is a rigorous training very few can pass. His dog sniffed out bombs. He would walk with his dog who would alert him if dangers were apparent and he would trust the dog’s instincts explicitly. He also told stories of dogs in the act of performing their duties being maimed and killed in action (KIA). These are dogs dedicated to their handler and would do anything including risking their lives for a treat and a little love.
American K9 Heroes is Born
My background is in the toy industry and one day while waiting to get my hair cut I looked out the window and noticed a big burly guy walking a dog on a leash that was no bigger than a hamster. That immediately got me thinking about making a small replica dog to honor the many dogs and handlers that served our nation in the military and police. We needed to bring to the forefront the many stories of the bravery these dogs showed daily. We needed to tell stories of the dogs who gave up their lives so military personnel could go home to their loved ones once again.
When I got home, I called a veteran friend of mine who is also in the plush animal toy business and told him about my idea and he was ready to go. Our biggest hurdle was to find a manufacturer that could make our product in the USA. After a lot of research and phone calls, we finally found a manufacturer who could work with us at a reasonable price.
We now had the mission, product, manufacturer and a network of salespeople! The next step was getting our cause out on social media and finally found someone who was as passionate as we were about paying tribute to these incredible and heroic dogs.
Join our Mission to Honor American K9 Heroes
We are looking for just 10,000 supporters to donate $5.00 each!
Part of our profit will be donated to police dog foundations and the organizations that reunite military dogs with their trainers/handlers; or if necessary, find new homes for them after their service and throughout their retirement.
Join our mission, share with your friends and help spread the word about the valorous stories of our beloved military and police dogs and the veterans who were their handlers.
We need your help in honoring these K9 veterans by telling their stories. Who doesn’t love dogs? Who doesn’t love veterans?
Donate through our website: American K9 Heroes Today!
Meet our Guest Blogger:
Jim Blankshain is the President of American K9 Heroes since 2018.
LinkedIn: Jim Blankshain
Facebook: American K9 Heroes