If you've ever been amazed by a dog skydiving with a soldier, you know that dogs have a storied history of serving essential functions for the military. During the Civil War, dogs were used for sending messages, and in World War I, they were used for everything from appearing on propaganda posters to detecting poisonous gas attacks. Even Rin Tin Tin can be considered a war dog, as he was rescued by American soldier Lee Duncan in the French countryside during World War I. As the military grew more complex, so did the roles of dogs deployed with our troops, such as doing guard duty and detecting explosives.
But what happens to the dogs when their tours are over? Most military dogs, being specially trained, are integrated into K-9 units in police departments across the country. Others are adopted by their military trainers or a civilian caretaker and retire to the quiet life, where they can learn all sorts of new things and just be regular dogs.
One such dog is Chef, who over five years served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Africa detecting explosives and working as a patrol dog. Today Chef is one of the most popular dogs on the Internet because of a video where he meets a tiny kitten for the first time. Throughout the video's running time, Chef, ever so carefully, like the meticulous and expertly trained dog he is, investigates this new, curious thing, pawing and sniffing at the feline, and the results are heartwarming.
The video, shot and uploaded to YouTube by Chef's owner, Louise Vaughan, back in 2010, has gainedrecent viral success and now has well over 700,000 views, with commenters saying things like "So adorable. Animals are amazing. I hope they have a long and happy life" and "It's so amazing how the dog used all of his senses to try and figure out what the kitten was." After his years of service, there's no more fitting thing for one of man's best friends than getting a new one of his own.
Would you ever adopt a retired service dog? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.