What, you may be wondering, is a blog like Angel Animals doing by writing about a memorial to honor war dogs? The answer is that war dogs and angels have a lot in common. If you think of the words describing angels — messengers, protectors, loyal friends — you would also be describing dogs who are trained to aid military personnel in the most dangerous areas and situations in the world.

Many years ago Linda got a call from retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant John C. Burnam of Bethseda, Maryland. He was a dog handler during the Vietnam War. He had written a book about the dogs who had served with him, especially an amazing German shepherd named Clipper. John wanted Linda to edit his book. She agreed to help him.

John’s story gripped Linda from start to finish. She said that it felt as if she were slugging through the jungles of Vietnam with Clipper and John, as the dog led an infantry platoon through land that was laced with explosives. Relying on Clipper’s sense of smell, his survival instinct, and intense loyalty, John made it through dangers that took Linda’s breath away as she worked on his book.

Now John has founded the John Burnam Monument Foundation (www.jbmf.us). He has joined forces with the United States War Dog Association to convince Congress and the nation that military working dogs and dog handlers deserve to be honored for their service to the country.

Dogs have saved lives and often lost their own in the line of duty through World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Today, they are essential in the war on terror as they detect roadside bombs and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan for US and NATO troops.

In 2006, Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina introduced a bill calling for a national dog monument, and it was approved in 2008. On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed a law authorizing JBMF, Inc. to build and maintain the National Monument for Military Working Dog Teams.

Next week (week of April 19, 2010), John will meet with Congressional leaders and Pentagon officials in Washington D.C. to present a miniature clay model of the monument’s design, created by artist and sculptor Paula Slater. The monument model presents four breeds of military dogs — Doberman, German shepherd, Labrador retriever, and Malinois — that have saved thousands of lives.

John continues to travel across the country, telling the military working dog story and raising funds through donations to build this national monument. John’s personal story can be found in the first printing of the original book Linda edited, DOG TAGS OF COURAGE (2006), and in a more recent book, A SOLDIER’S BEST FRIEND (2008). That book became the inspiration for a feature film, MOE, which is expected to be in production in early 2011.

We invite you to go to the John Burnam Monument Foundation’s website (www.jbmf.us) and support this exciting project whose time has come. An excerpt from DOG TAGS OF COURAGE/A SOLDIER’S BEST FRIEND is the featured story this week.

Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network

Great story in Angel Animals Story of the Week (4-17-10) about a brave dog who served in the military at www.tinyurl.com/yl6g3jf