First in Florida ... then in San Diego, and most recently in New Jersey.
No one doubts the heroic actions of both dogs and their Working Dog Handlers both in peace and in war throughout the years. Only recently, however, have these military dogs gotten recognition as something other than army surplus in a bill signed by President Clinton in 2003. While this has been, in part, a significant recognition to people and dogs in the military, many believed that it did not go far enough in giving dogs the credit due them for their efforts and bravery under fire as well as other service dogs who have worked within the country to protect its borders and recuse victims of distress. K9 Veterans Day movement founder, Joseph L. White (recently deceased), "pioneered a national effort to recognize March 13 as K9 Veterans Day." March 13 was the date chosen because the United Sates Canine Corp was established on March 13, 1942.
The quest to honor working dogs does not discriminate against working dogs that are not in the military. K9 Veterans Day is intended to cover both military dogs as well as police dogs, customs dogs, border patrol dogs, and other working dogs whose mission it is to protect the homeland and people within it. The K9 Veterans organization believes that all these dogs deserved to be rememberer and honored on this day, saying "Dogs have bled, suffered, and died while serving in all our wars, to include the war on terror, and they have done so in ways that do us all proud."
Several cities, including Jacksonville FL and San Diego, and the State of Florida have signed proclamations making March 13 K9 Veterans Day. Most recently, the State of New Jersey will be designating Mach 13 of each year as K9 Veterans Day. This organization has many supporters, including the Illinois Police Work Dog Association. Hopefully other cities and States will follow suit to recognize these working dogs.