"How do you thank somebody that saved your life? My dog would not let me pass him and I found a booby trap. He saved 10 people," said Brian Taras at the Palmerton Historical Society as he talked about his war dog handling experience in the Vietnam War. His dog was named Gretel.
He shared many interesting facts about war dogs, such as:
Ÿ 263 handlers and 500 dogs died. The North Vietnamese put out a reward either for the handler's insignia or the dog's tattooed ear.
Ÿ One dog refused to eat from his dish and insisted his food be put in his handler's helmet.
Ÿ A dog was seriously hurt and after long treatment he was ordered to be put down. The dog was lifted onto the ground and with difficulty walked. Ten weeks later he jumped into the back of a jeep and was back at work.
Ÿ Officers gave a thousand reasons why the dogs could not be brought home. Finally public opinion led to a quarantine station and 204 of the 4,000 dogs were brought home. "This is wrong," said Taras. "These dogs should not have been abandoned because they saved many lives."
Ÿ It was playtime when they wore a collar and work-time when they wore a harness.
Ÿ North Vietnamese weapons caches were found by the dogs.
"How can you honor our military without the dogs? I got a purple heart for what this dog did," said Taras.