Four-legged military veterans are eligible for free specialty veterinary care under a partnership established between a New Jersey hospital chain, the American Humane Association and the United States War Dogs Association.
The arrangement, announced Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day, recognizes the dogs’ months or years of service overseas on behalf of the U.S. military.
Red Bank Veterinary Hospital, which has five New Jersey locations, will provide free specialty care to retired military working dogs and contract working dogs. The latter group is made up of canines supplied to the military by contractors.
“For more than 25 years, Red Bank Veterinary Hospital has been a leader in providing veterinary care to the animals of New Jersey, but we now want to be known as the leader in veterinary care for our veteran dogs,” said hospital co-founder Anthony DeCarlo, VMD.
The sponsors estimated that each dog saved the lives of up to 200 soldiers by uncovering bombs and weapons caches while working in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Dogs are as essential to the military as humans, but unlike humans, these dogs are not guaranteed medical care following their retirement,” said Ron Aiello, president of the War Dogs Association, which is based in Burlington, N.J.
The American Humane Association last summer publicized the fact that federal money may not be spent on retired military dogs. The Washington, D.C., organization asked the private sector to create a veterinary fund for the animals.
“We and U.S. War Dogs Association are honored to see that the Red Bank Veterinary Hospital has answered our call to ensure a healthy retirement for these canine heroes,” said Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., the American Humane Association’s president and CEO.
Red Bank employs dozens of veterinarians and offers specialty care in areas such as cardiology, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology and physical rehabilitation.