Dogs have shared special bond with humans throughout time



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Beginning in World War I, the English bulldog was considered the unofficial mascot of the Marines until Jiggs was given the official duty in 1922.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Navalhistory.org

Man's best friend follows us through hard, good times

Throughout the ages, man has called dog one of his closest companions. They are commonly referred to as “man’s best friends.”

Man has also called him protector, helper, lifesaver and provider.

Dogs are an incredible friend to man because they have been there through the years, through any task and any challenge, but the relationship between man and dog goes a bit deeper and older.

The friendship between man and dog dates back more than 15,000 years when dogs, who originated from a common ancestor, followed man throughout his migrations in East Asia.

According to the website Daily Treat, psychologically, this connection makes sense because both man and dog are social beings. Neither can thrive when alone, and both benefit mentally — and often physically — from such a strong bond.

Having a dog at home, at work, or even on the battlefield, gives us a listening ear, a warm paw to hold and even strong legs to run beside.

In fact, it was during war that this bond between man and dog began to take shape.

During World War I, the German Army reported that its soldiers had been attacked by vicious, wild and ferocious mountain dogs of Bavarian folklore during the 1918 battle of Belleau Woods.

Soon afterward, a Marine recruiting poster depicted a snarling English bulldog wearing a Marine Corps helmet. Because of the tenacity and demeanor of the breed, the image took root with both the Marines and the public. The Marines soon adopted the English bulldog as their mascot.

According to Heritage Press International, at the Marine base at Quantico, Va., the Marines obtained a registered English bulldog, King Bulwark. In a ceremony on Oct. 14, 1922, the Marines signed documents enlisting the bulldog, renamed Jiggs, for the “term of life.”

Jiggs died on Jan. 9, 1927, and was mourned throughout the Corps. His satin-lined coffin lay in state in a hangar at Quantico, surrounded by flowers from hundreds of Corps admirers. He was interred with full military honors.

Since Jiggs’ death, many English bulldogs have been enlisted to become mascots and members of the Marine Corps. To this day, that is why the English bulldog is the perfect mascot for the Marine Corps — loyal, tenacious, resolute and faithful, with a never-give-up attitude.

But the Marine Corps is not the only agency or organization using dogs to serve man.

Today, many different types of dogs are used by other branches of the military, law enforcement agencies and organizations to help man battle terrorism, fight crime, protect its citizens and aid those in need.

Dogs have proven themselves time and again to be loyal, kind and understanding. They are able to greet us happily after what may have been the worst day of our lives, and make us feel better with a wag of the tail and a playful grin.

Dogs are at our sides on the battlefield with our soldiers and with our law enforcement officers patrolling our borders, airports and streets. Dogs are there when we are sick, sad and lonely. They love us even when we are grumpy, rude or downright mean. Dogs are the ones who seem to understand us on a level even we cannot fathom.

In recognition of their faithful service to man, Viera Voice and Senior Life would like to recognize those dogs and their handlers for their dedicated service to our country, Florida, Brevard County and our local communities.