COOPER, TX (CBSDFW.COM) - We usually think of our dogs as loving household pets, but at the Warrior Dog Foundation, a kennel ninety miles east of Dallas, special dogs have returned from combat zones to heal, while others are being trained to keep people safe.
Founder, Navy Seal Mike Ritland, says that we owe it to these highly trained animals. "It's impossible to quantify how many of our forces have been saved by these dogs." said Ritland. "Without a doubt, it's in the thousands. We owe absolutely everything we can give these dogs for what they've done for us."
Ritland got the idea in 2003 while serving as a navy seal when a trained dog in his combat unit smelled danger. The dog alerted on a booby trap of grenades right inside a door of a cave complex. Ritland said if not for the dog "the first few guys probably would have been killed."
Carlos, a twelve-year-old bomb sniffing dog, was injured in an IED attack. He's pampered now but his body remains stiff. He took a direct hit from a hidden explosive saving the soldiers with him. Now he and other war-scarred dogs are cared for at the Warrior Dog Foundation.
Another canine - Arko - was shot point-blank in the chest with an AK-47 that would have otherwise been meant for soldiers behind him. "He went in to take down a suspected insurgent, grabbed him [sic]…the guy shot him." said Ritland. "He still managed to take him down. He's done a lot for this country. We're honestly honored to have him," Ritland continued.
The Warrior Dog Foundation is not only a rehab facility for war-scarred dogs, it's also a place where other dogs are trained to replace their predecessors on the battlefield, to work with police or to be with families who want a pet and protection
To learn more about these dogs and how you can help check out their website at warriordogfoundation.org.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
PHOTOS: Your Pet Pictures
for more features.