"Pet food was rationed during the war and pet lovers were struggling to feed their animals so the appeal worked, people 'volunteered' their pet dogs to join the British Army. In fact some 7,000 people came forward with their pets."
Our Dog Warden Russ reflects on how dogs supported the war effort during the Second World War
Read more below….
I hope you are all safe and well as we enter the 8th week of lockdown. Many of us have had to make so many sacrifices in the last two months and have not been able to see the people we've wanted or visit the places we'd planned.
I think it was particularly sad all the plans that had been made for people up and down the country to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day had to be scaled down to such an extent.
The television stations and Local Authorities marked the event, but I'm sure there would have been street parties and other fantastic outdoor events had things been different.
I was looking forward to seeing the Spitfire flypast but sadly I was on call over the weekend and duty called at just the wrong time and it wasn't to be. I hope you were able to see it if that was your wish.
I came across the following article in a facebook post from the charity VETERANS WITH DOGS which is the UK's first registered Charity Organisation, training assistance dogs for mental health, for current and former serving personnel of the British Armed Forces:
In the darkest days of the Second World War there were a number of appeals in newspapers and on the radio. One of them was:
“Have you got a big hungry dog? Nothing to feed them? Why not lend them to the Army so they can go to war?"
Pet food was rationed during the war and pet lovers were struggling to feed their animals so the appeal worked, people 'volunteered' their pet dogs to join the British Army. In fact some 7,000 people came forward with their pets, of which around 3,000 dogs were chosen.
These volunteer pets, along with others from Battersea Dogs Home and those from police run lost dogs pounds were put under intense training at a specialist 'war dogs training school' a few miles west of London.
One of the first tests they endured was being exposed to gunfire. They were walked round in groups by their ATS Girl handlers, while the head trainer threw thunder flashes around. Any dog which showed distress was rejected and returned to the owner (if they came forward to collect it). Any successful dog was put into a training squad.
Once trained they were sent to war and they were known to fight from the deserts of North Africa to the final defeat of the Third Reich. They jumped out of storm boats under fire, parachuted from aircrafts, guarded prisoners and hunted for mines.
These dogs were brave and loyal. The lucky ones came home to loving families, some came home but found they no longer had a family to claim them and many sadly didn't return at all.
These pets didn't choose to go to war, families were forced into giving them up through desperation. There is an Animals In War memorial in Hyde Park to remember the brave pets who gave their lives. Perhaps, when we are allowed to move freely, it is somewhere you would want to visit with your family?
Veterans with Dogs was founded for the purpose of training fully accredited assistance dogs to help mitigate the symptoms of mental health difficulties for our Veterans and active-duty service members.
You can find out more about the important work they do at on the Veterans with Dogs website, or VETERANS WITH DOGS on facebook"