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Friday, February 5, 2016

Gifts of Love to Our Four-Legged Soldiers

Fort Hood soldiers and their canine partners introduce
themselves to Daulton Elementary students, parents, and staff.
They may be cute and cuddly, but don’t let the fur fool you. Military dogs are an integral part to the protection of our country.

Students and staff at Anna May Daulton Elementary School are helping those four-legged soldiers get the support they need by raising money and collecting supplies to ship overseas. Through Operation Military Care K9, the campus is sending the military dogs and their handlers items to keep them healthy and protect them from harsh weather conditions.

“I want the kids to know how important these dogs are to our military,” said Lynn Kostel, librarian at Daulton who organized the fundraiser. “These dogs are nobody’s pet, and they’re vital to the survival of our guys.”

A military canine retrieves an object for his handler.
All branches of the armed forces utilize military service dogs specializing in drug and bomb detection. The canines sniff out narcotics, search for explosives, and support in other roles.

To kick off the fundraiser, Fort Hood soldiers visited the school with their canine partners to demonstrate how the dogs are used in different missions. The kids and adults were excited to see the dogs as they exhibited their talents.

“We try to teach kids about what the dogs really do,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Morton. “They always see dogs out and about, but this is a little different from the dogs they have at home.”

After the demonstration, the soldiers were surprised with baskets of supplies that were donated by local businesses. Kostel said the entire community did not hesitate to support when they heard about an opportunity to support the troops.

Local businesses donated gifts for the military dogs.
“I cried when I saw everything that they brought,” said Kostel. “Chick-fil-A sponsored the soldier’s lunch. We also had Petco, Petsmart, and Pet Supplies Plus supply items for the dogs.”

Daulton Elementary hopes the gifts of love keep coming. Money can be donated through the PTA, and the campus will be accepting items through Friday, Feb. 12. A list of needed canine supplies is available here.