| March 11, 2010 -
The German Shepherd Dog Club of East Tennessee and the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine will host a "K-9 Veterans Day" observance at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 13.
The event will take place, rain or shine, at the War Dog Memorial, at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, 2407 River Drive, Knoxville and the public is invited to attend.
“This event will honor all the dogs from all our wars, including past and present military working dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, dogs used by the Secret Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, dogs used by other agencies, and even the therapy dogs and assistance dogs who comfort and help our wounded veterans,” said Donna Fefee, vice president of The German Shepherd Dog Club of East Tennessee and the event’s coordinator. “This is an opportunity to recognize and pay tribute to those dogs that selflessly serve humanity and make our world a better place - one of the many the benefits derived from the human/dog connection.”
The City of Knoxville will issue a proclamation designating March 13, 2010, as "K-9 Veterans Day.”
“The city is pleased to support this observance that honors these dogs and their handlers who faithfully served the United States during wartime, past and present, as well as teams like those serving in the Knoxville Police Department’s K-9 unit,” Mayor Bill Haslam said.
The date was chosen because March 13, 1942, was the official birthday of the United States "K-9 Corps," though our country did use dogs in wars prior to that.
The idea for K-9 Veterans Day originated with Vietnam veteran Joseph J. White, who was a dog handler during his time in the service. Unfortunately, Joe passed away unexpectedly in October 2009 without seeing his dream fully realized, but his widow and innumerable other dedicated volunteers continue to work towards his goal.
Additional information about the K-9 Veterans Day can be found at www.gsdcet.org and www.K9veteransday.org.