March 13th, is K9 Veteran’s Day. It was on March 13, 1942, that the Army began training for its new War Dog Program, also known as the “K-9 Corps,” It was the first time that dogs were officially a part of the U.S. Armed Forces. Thank you to all the working dogs and their handlers for their service and dedication.
At the corner of Milford Rd and 11 Mile Near South Lyon is the Michigan War Dog Memorial. The site was set up by the Elkow family in 1936 and known as “Happy Hunting Grounds Pet Cemetery.” In 1946 when the news of how many lives were saved by War Dogs during WWII local residents raised money to install a monument to show their respect to the heroic K-9’s. Present At dedication of the 16-ton granite monument was a doberman pinscher named Sargent Sparks, a Marine Corps scout and messenger dog that carried messages and medical supplies at Guadalcanal and Okinawa. A year after the dedication, someone poisoned Sgt. Sparks near his Rochester home. His master requested that he be buried wrapped only in a blanket, like so many of his buddies at the beaches. he was laid to rest at the base of the monument.
Probably the most famous dog buried at the cemetery is “Blizzard,” one of Admiral Byrd’s lead sled dogs. He was at the Chicago Worlds Fair and was sold to people who lived in Windsor. When Blizzard died in 1937 at 12 years of age, he was buried at the cemetery. Along with Blizzard, is a parrot that was on Admiral Dewey’s flagship that was owned by the city of Detroit when he died at 86 years. (Parrots can live to be 150 years old)
If a military working dog is killed in action or at home base, there is a memorial and burial with honors; however, if the Veterinary Corps retires a military working dog, and it is adopted out and dies the Michigan War Dog Memorial and Cemetery is a place for a heroic K-9 to be laid to rest at no cost to the handler/owner. There have been several dogs who served from all wars since 1936 that have been laid to rest along with police K-9s and other loyal working dogs.
you can find out more about the Memorial and Cemetery at their website HERE
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