(NEW YORK) — New York’s Veteran’s Day parade honored all veterans, even the canine ones.
For the first time in the parade’s history, six military dogs marched alongside the soldiers they served with.
Dogs like Axel have been an important part of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The dogs are trained to sniff out roadside bombs and other explosive devices.
Maxi, a 12-year old Belgian Malinois, worked the bomb-laden battlefields in Iraq. After her deployment in Iraq, Maxi worked in Japan for two years as a military police dog.
Cena served in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010 for the United States Marine Corps and participated in Operation Moshtarak, which was the largest military action in Afghanistan at the time. He served a total of four years in the military before retiring to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he now lives with veteran Jeff DeYoung.
After returning to the U.S., the dogs are reunited with the service members they had worked with in the military.
The transition can be difficult for some dogs, who can become skittish in loud or crowded environments, Corporal Nick Caceres told ABC News. Caceres walked with his dog, Fieldy. Fieldy served in Afghanistan with Caceres three years ago. Lois Pope, the founder and chair of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, funded the dogs’ float at the parade.
“There are heroes on both sides of the leash,” Pope told ABC News. “These dogs have saved our boys lives.”
Also at the parade were service dogs who help veterans ease back into post-war life. The dogs are matched to veterans based on their personalities.
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