Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Defense Health Agency Kicks Off Dog Days of Summer, Showcases Dogs Who Support Overall Health

Image of Defense Health Agency Kicks Off Dog Days of Summer, Showcases Dogs Who Support Overall Health. Brooke Army Medical Center facility dog U.S. Army Maj. Budd interacts with soldiers being in-processed in Aug. 2022. Facility dogs are being given honorary commissions or are enlisted in a service as a mark of respect for their value in comforting personnel in need and increasing morale and mental health. (Photo: Jennifer Higgins, special assistant for healthcare resolutions BMAC)

This week, the Defense Health Agency is celebrating facility dogs assigned to military hospitals across the nation for its “Dog Days of Summer” campaign July 24-28.

DHA will spotlight stories of hard-working dogs dedicated to keeping service members, their families, and hospital staff healthy and happy.

Military hospital facility dogs fulfill many services daily. They provide comfort and a wet nose to patients and wounded warriors recovering from surgery and boost morale among hospital staff. Whether by land, sea, or air, these dogs are always at the ready.

Facility dogs work hard every day at their assigned military hospital, clinic or elsewhere to provide comfort to people they encounter while making their rounds.

Military working dogs keep their handlers and battle buddies safe from bombs and enemies on the frontlines and across the seven seas.

Service dogs help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, was the first military hospital to employ facility dogs. They’ve now been around nearly two decades.

MWDs have been used in action since the Civil War. The use of emotional support dogs for veterans has expanded greatly since the first Gulf War.

Explaining the many abilities of military dogs and their true gifts is WRNMMC facility dog program manager Amy O’Connor, who offered this quote: “God said I need somebody strong enough to pull sleds and find bombs, yet gentle enough to love babies and lead the blind. Somebody who will spend hours in a hospital bed with a resting head and supportive eyes to lift the spirits of a broken heart. So, God made dog.”

If you’d like to find out more about the value of military dogs, follow us in July as we highlight their amazing abilities.

Resources

Here’s a select sampling of the many resources about military dogs you can find across health.mil and social media:

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Oct 2, 2023

Suicide Care Prevention and Research Initiative at the Uniformed Services University Builds Interventions to Reduce Military Suicide

The Suicide Care, Prevention, and Research Initiative provides support for chaplains, spouses, military leadership, and other gatekeepers of service members. The program builds, scientifically tests, and implements suicide prevention programs by incorporating knowledge gained from service members who have died by suicide as well as those with suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors. (U.S. Army photo by Michele Wiencek)

While numerous programs work to develop strategies to lessen the national suicide rate, a standout in the military community is the Suicide Care, Prevention, and Research Initiative at the Uniformed Services University.

Article Around MHS
Sep 15, 2023

Preventing Suicide Through Social Connectedness

Suicide is a significant public health issue that impacts individuals, families, communities and society at large. Many risk and protective factors play an integral role in the prevention of suicide, including social connectedness, which occurs when people or groups are engaged in relationships that create a sense of belonging and being cared for, valued and supported. (Defense Centers for Public Health-Aberdeen graphic illustration by Jason Embrey)

Suicide is a significant public health issue that impacts individuals, families, communities and society at large. The issue is also tied to what the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vevek Murthy, called an “Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation” in a May health advisory that calls for a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection.

Article Around MHS
Sep 7, 2023

Dog Jog for Life: Unlocking the Power of Pets in Suicide Prevention

For Suicide Prevention Month, emphasize the importance of escorting individuals in need to the best available help, ensuring they receive the assistance they require. However, in our efforts to support human lives, we sometimes overlook a remarkable source of solace and strength—our pets.  (Photo By Russell Jordan)

A U.S. Army public affairs officer highlights the importance of dogs in mental health while promoting "Dog Jog for Life," an event that embodies the spirit of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz. “Our dogs often understand our moods better than we do ourselves. They offer us empathy, share in our ...

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 28, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery