US Military dogs honored with Medals of Courage

20:49  11 october  2017
20:49  11 october  2017 Source:   CBS News

American woman's mission: Rescuing dogs from Bali volcano

  American woman's mission: Rescuing dogs from Bali volcano <p>As the small convoy carrying volunteers, dried food and canned meat pulls up before a revered Hindu temple on the slopes of Bali's Mount Agung volcano, dogs trot out from the mist shrouding the temple's cascade of steps. In between snarling over rank and territory, they gulp down their rations.</p>An animal welfare organization founded by a Californian woman who has made the Indonesian tourist island her home is making daily forays into the danger zone around the menacing volcano to feed the hungry temple dogs and rescue village dogs left behind by fleeing communities.

Last week four incredible dogs were honored at Capitol Hill for the K9 Medal of Courage , the nation's highest honor for military dogs .

lost a leg when during a combat accident, have been chosen as recipients of the inaugural American Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage . The awards, presented at a Capitol Hill ceremony tonight, are the nation’s highest honor for military dogs for extraordinary valor and service to America.

Hundreds of military dogs are deployed overseas to help the United States military. Many put themselves in harm's way to protect the men and women who follow them into combat. To honor their service to their country, five canine veterans will receive the American Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage on Wednesday.

"She was always with me side by side. My mentality was I needed her just as much as she needed me. She's going to get me through. I'm going to get her through," said Army Sgt. James Bennett. He served with Coffee, a chocolate labrador retriever, by his side for almost 10 years. 

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  Volunteer pilots are flying planeloads of dogs and cats out of Puerto Rico Ric Browde arrived in Puerto Rico with food and other supplies packed into his cargo plane. He left with a plane full of dogs and cats.Browde is president and CEO of Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit that deploys volunteer pilots to evacuate animals from places where their lives are at risk. He's been flying basically nonstop since the end of August, when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas — and expects Friday's mission is just the beginning of the animal airlifts out of this devastated island.

“It is important to recognize and honor the remarkable accomplishments and valor of these courageous canines,” said Rep. Meet this year’s medal winners. Military Working Dog Matty Retired Army Specialist Brent Grommet and Military Working Dog Matty, a Czech German Shepherd

Military dogs honored with Medals of Courage . Dogs like Coffee are valuable to he military for their loyalty, courage and extraordinary sense of smell. Over 1,600 dogs are currently serving in the U.S. and around the world.

They did three tours in Afghanistan where Coffee was an explosive detections dog, sniffing out bombs and facing danger head on as the unit's first line of defense, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.  

"She's never lost a soldier, ever. We've never had to go anywhere and say, OK, something happened. She's never lost anybody," James said.

He said Coffee's work saved a lot of lives and that she came under fire "too many times."

"There's been several instances where she was targeted," he said. 

Dogs like Coffee are valuable to he military for their loyalty, courage and extraordinary sense of smell. Over 1,600 dogs are currently serving in the U.S. and around the world. Thirty-four have been killed in action during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Trump alludes to "calm before the storm"

  Trump alludes to Asked to clarify his comment, the president said "you'll find out"Mr. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, flanked by military spouses for a photo op at the White House, said, "You guys know what this represents? Maybe it's the calm before the storm," the president said.

Service K9s Matty, Fieldy, Bond, and Isky were honored with the highest honor for military dogs in the United States, the K9 Medal of Courage . The medal was designed by philanthropist and veterans advocate Lois Pope and the American Humane Society

Four retired military working dogs were presented with special medals to commemorate their service on Capitol Hill this week. The dogs ’ handlers said the ceremony and Medal of Courage were an honor for them and that they were proud of what their dogs had accomplished.

ctm-101117-military-dogs.jpg © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. ctm-101117-military-dogs.jpg James says through three deployments, Coffee became much more than a dog -- even more than a best friend. 

"I consider her an angel," he said. "This one. She brought me home."

Asked whether he would have survived three tours in Afghanistan without her, James said, "I don't know." James's wife Lindsay encouraged him to nominate Coffee for the K-9 Medal of Courage.

"She is the reason I have my husband. There was a couple times where I didn't hear from him for a couple days, and it was panic," Lindsay said. "You get that tight feeling, 'cause you always hear things on the news and you don't know."

Coffee now lives with the Bennetts and their three kids. For 10 years of service, love is Coffee's endless reward. To them, Coffee is a member of the family. At 13 years old, they know she is approaching her final years.  

"We have 17 years of marriage right now, and we wouldn't have that without her," James said.

"We wouldn't have the three kids we have now without her," Lindsay added.  

"She's really given me my life that I have right now. She has given me the chance to enjoy my kids grown up and enjoy my time with my wife," James said. "I want her to enjoy this last part. She's earned it."

Coffee: ctm-101117-coffee.jpg © CBS News ctm-101117-coffee.jpg

Dogs test positive for drugs in Alaska's Iditarod .
For the first time in the history of the world's most famous sled dog race, several of the high-performance animals have tested positive for a prohibited drug. But race officials have refused to name the musher involved.The governing board of the nearly 1,000-mile race said in a statement that several dogs tested positive for the opioid pain reliever Tramadol. Officials said the team was tested six hours after finishing the nearly 1,000-mile race in Nome in March.Officials say they likely could not prove legally prove intent on the affected musher's part.

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