The Sept. 24 edition of Rocky Mountain Outlook featured an article about Park Canada’s new dog handler and his professional service dog Leroy.
While this particular dog will be employed in dangerous rescue work, dogs, there are other animals are routinely utilized by various organizations.
With Remembrance Day happening this week, it is vitally important to remember not only the soldiers who suffered and died in the trenches and on the battlefields, but also the staggering numbers of animals who were involved in the war effort.
In the First World War, millions of animals toiled alongside soldiers while they transported heavy equipment, ammunition, food, and supplies.
The Dickin Medal – with its inscription "For Gallantry" and "We Also Serve" was initiated to honour extreme valour and dedication – it is the animals’ equivalent of the Victoria Cross.
This year the Gold Cross, equivalent to the George Cross, was awarded to Magawa, a bomb-sniffing rat, who was instrumental in detecting land mines in Cambodia.
It is therefore appropriate that a purple poppy was created in 2006 to commemorate and honour the courage, spirit, and sacrifice of the animals who served and continue to serve in any capacity.
This poppy, which can be worn alongside the traditional red poppy, is a solemn reminder to pay tribute to those who have no choice.