PEWEE VALLEY, Kentucky (NBC) - A veterinary clinic in Kentucky is collecting care packages for a group of soldiers in Afghanistan that often go under the radar and don't get much in exchange for their unique service to our country: The canine corp.
The PeWee Valley Veterinary Center calls the care package drive, "Blessings in a Box." It's the first time the center is running the drive. When all supplies are collected, they will send the boxes to Afghanistan to a group of military dogs that are posted at military bases around the world. In fact, dogs have been used in the military since the Revolutionary War, and volunteers at the center say the brave dogs have been forgotten for just as long.
Of course, members of the military think differently. They say that the dogs will literally die for their handler if they need to. Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the regular intake for the military canine forces has nearly doubled, but so has the need for canine equipment.
The military says they particularly need Kevlar dog booties to protect the dogs' paws in various terrain.
"Pads are tough to heal, and so infection can get in there and other things such as just plain damage to them, and then
every time they walk it's very painful," says Dr. Manta Loster, a veterinarian at the PeWee Valley Clinic.
The dogs also need cooling vests to survive the 109 degree heat in Afghanistan.
"They do not have sweat glands. The only place that any sweat glands are present are in their feet. Other than that, they
get rid of heat through breathing," Dr. Loster said.
Whether it's something the dogs will enjoy, like a ball, toy or treat, or something they desperately need to survive, the center is just thankful for the generosity of the many people who have made "Blessings in a Box" just that: blessings, in a box.