Christmas gifts for the Canine Corps. - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Christmas gifts for the Canine Corps.

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NBC News---A Veterinary Clinic in Kentucky is collecting care packages for a group of soldiers in Afghanistan that often gets nothing in exchange for their unique service to our country.

Carolyne Tilford, of Pewee Valley Vet Center said ,"I thought that there would be people doing this all over the world, but there really are not."

This is Pewee Valley Veterinary Center's first time collecting care packages, or what they call "blessings in a box". They will send the boxes all the way to Afghanistan to a group of military soldiers who give everything but often get nothing for their service.

Tilford adds,"There's one other place doing this that we found anywhere."

The center's goal, to collect supplies for the military's forgotten heroes: Its often forgotten canine corps. They are posted on military bases world wide.  "Dogs have been used in the military since the Revolutionary War, and you know, they're forgotten a lot of times."

The public may not think of them, but their military comrades cannot do without them.  "It's unbelievable. That dog will literally die for their handler if they need to."

Since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on 9-11, the regular intake for the military canine forces has nearly doubled, and so has the need for more canine equipment.  "We really want to bless these dogs, and we want to change things for them."

As Dr. Manta Loster explains, they also want to bless them with good health and safe gear. To do that, they need your monetary gifts. This gear was requested by the military. First, kevlar dog booties to protect pads of the dogs' feet.  "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."

A soldier with injured feet cannot fight. In Afghanistan the temperature can reach 109. Such high temperatures can lead to a high chance of heat stroke, so the K-9 Force needs cooling vests.  "The 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."

Tilford says, "I mean, it's a hard environment for people and dog alike."  This gear will help keep our military war dogs safe. And our military war dogs will help keep our U.S. Soldiers safe.

One soldier said, "So, forty guys will follow this one dog, hoping that, putting their faith and trust that this dog is going to find an explosive device and keep them safe for the day."

Tilford says, "One of the dogs we're sponsoring, it's his 9th round of service."  Whether it is something they'll enjoy a ball, toy, or treat or something they desperately need A monetary gift for their boots and their vest.

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