CULLOWHEE – A Vietnam veteran who served as a handler with dogs trained for hazardous duty during the war says the dogs have never received the recognition or the honors they deserve. Perry Money, who worked with his dog “Missy” in Vietnam during the summer of 1970, was the featured speaker for a Veterans’ Day program at Western on Thursday, Nov. 11, in the A.K. Hinds University Center.
Money described how he and his dog worked together on the front lines to search out mines and booby traps and to locate enemy patrols. Other dogs were used for search and rescue, sentry duty, tracking wounded enemies and more. The dogs were so effective, Money said, that thousands of American deaths and equipment losses were prevented.
When he left the war, Money said he was required to leave his dog behind. He was shocked and outraged to learn later that most of the 4,000 dogs that served with the military in Vietnam were declared “surplus” and were abandoned or killed.
Now, Money and other former dog handlers have formed a national organization to raise money and gain support for a National War Dogs Memorial with a statue designed and donated by artist Renee Headings. Erecting the memorial on public land in Washington, D.C., will require an act of Congress, Money said, and he is asking people to petition their state legislators and members of Congress for that permission.
Western’s Veterans’ Day program was organized by senior Victoria Baise of Burlington, N.C., and sponsored by the Veterans’ Club, the University Center , and the Division of Student Affairs.
To view the proposed National War Dogs Memorial statue, visit www.wardogsmemorial.org (link no longer active).