This weekend was Labor Day weekend here in the United States—for those of you that don’t know, Labor Day is a day set aside to celebrate the laborers of our country. In essence, all of us who work—I consider guarding my bone and sleeping by the fireplace work. Labor Day isn’t a uniquely United States event, you will also experience the same type of labor-based celebrations throughout the world at various times throughout the year—Canada, Australia, Bangladesh and Brazil (Dia do Trabalho) honor workers, as does Cuba, Jamaica, New Zealand, Philippines, Norway and Sweden (Första maj); if I missed your country’s Labor Day events, please add them in the comments section.
This Labor Day weekend I spent splashing about along the beautiful California gold coast, with my pal Tillman the Bulldog (@TillmanSkates). You know Tillman from his many public appearances, and his “Who Let the Dogs Out“ television show. Tillman was excited to, yet again, attempt to teach me to ride a skate board—but more so to tell me about what he and his pals at Natural Balance (@NaturalBalance) and Petco (@Petco) are working on for September, which is National Service Dog month.
“I’m going to become an honorary Marine, Mattie!” exclaimed a very excited @TillmanSkates. Tillman was so happy and honored to tell me about all of the great work being done for National Service Dog Month. “We will have a lot of events and even be involved in raising awareness about a new national monument being built to honor military working dogs. We are hoping to raise one million dollars to honor Service Dogs across America!” While there are many types of service dogs, this year @NaturalBalance and @Petco, along with @TillmanSkates’ help, are highlighting and honoring guide dogs and military working dogs for the inspiring work they do in changing lives.
“You know what’s so cool about guide dogs, Mattie?” asked Tillman. Before I could offer an answer, @TillmanSkates eagerly said, “Guide dogs provide safe mobility, loving companionship and restore confidence to their handlers through the gift of sight. Isn’t that cool?” Cool indeed—I’ve volunteered in many different hospitals and know from experience that guide dogs make a huge difference in giving back lost independence. “And, military working dogs help support our military bases and detect explosives before they inflict harm,” barked a happy Tillman, as he scooted by me on his skate board. “Hey, have all your readers check out this great video created by my main men Dick and Jimmy Van Patten–it highlights our goals for the National Service Dog project,” barked Tillman.
“See, we are trying to raise awareness and money for National Service Dog Month—we want to help build a monument to honor military working dogs,” said @TillmanSkates. The National Monument to honor military working dogs has a planned dedication date in 2013, where thousands will gather at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, US. The Military Working Dogs Monument will recognize and pay homage to the dogs who have bravely served side-by-side with our military, saving thousands of American lives while also providing companionship and support to our active-duty service people.
You can help raise awareness and funds for the national monument by:
- Tweeting about it—use the #ServiceDogs hashtag and retweet @TillmanSkates tweets that highlight the military working dogs events
- Visit your local Petco and make a donation, or donating online (click here)
- Buy some limited edition @NaturalBalance Jerky Treats (click here)
- Check out the Natural Balance Facebook or website for more information
- Visit the official Military Working Dog Monument website (click here)
Dogs were formally introduced to the military during service time—most notably, during the Vietnam War when over 4,000 dogs and 10,000 handlers were deployed. Today there is a much more formal approach, with the U.S. Air Force appointed by the Department of Defense to manage the Military Working Dog program. The program is housed at Lackland Air Force base near San Antonio, TX, and this is where all of the military working dog teams are trained for all branches of the service—Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as many other government organizations. The amount of time and resources spent on military working dogs is astounding—and what the dogs give back is priceless.
“Building a monument takes a lot of money, Mattie,” said @TillmanSkates, “but dawg, dog, Military Working Dogs are worth it! We’re trying to raise $1 million this month for service dogs, because they help us—it’s our turn to give back.” I couldn’t agree more—thanks Tillman, @NaturalBalance and @Petco for helping spread the word and partnering with @TillmanSkates to honor dogs—you all rock!
Remember to contact me, @MattieDog, with your ideas for The Anipal Times articles! You can email me at: mattiedog AT anipaltimes DOT com or tweet me at: @MattieDog on Twitter.
Contact Tillman on Twitter at @TillmanSkates, check out his new Who Let the Dogs Out! television show here; and find Tillman on YouTube here, or check out this link to see more with Tillman and @NaturalBalance.