Auburn University and Auburn Athletics on Oct. 5 will honor those who serve and have served the U.S. as part of Military Appreciation Day. Whether canine or human, Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine continues a distinguished record of military service, and the college is grateful for their commitment.
Current and former students, faculty and staff proudly serve in active duty, guard and reservists positions, and the college has international acclaim for conducting research and training in the important role canines play in our nation’s security.
Active-duty Army Major Eileen Jenkins, a resident in small animal internal medicine, is just one of several faculty, staff and students at the College of Veterinary Medicine who serve in active duty, Reservists or National Guard. Two professional students in each veterinary medicine class are commissioned as officers in the U.S. Army. Following graduation from Auburn, they will serve as active duty veterinarians. Other students are reservists and guard members.
As an Army veterinarian, Jenkins and others in the CVM perform a variety of work, including overseas missions. In fact, Jenkins; anesthesiologist Dr. Jacob Johnson; Animal Health and Performance Program interim Director Dr. James Floyd; and adjunct faculty Dr. Brad Fields and Dr. Soren Rodning, all reservists in the U.S. Army, were deployed together in Afghanistan.
Army veterinarians serve a number of duties, including providing care for military working dogs doing explosive, mine and drug detection; search and rescue; and patrol dogs. They also serve as food safety and quality assurance inspectors, ensuring that food delivered by non-military sources are safe for troops to eat and meet contractual compliance.
They also provide an important public education component, educating Afghans about rabies and other animal health issues, how to care for food animals, proper techniques for preserving and preparing meat.
Research and understanding animal performance is a longtime and important goal of the college’s Animal Health and Performance Program, which is a leader in understanding the physical, physiological and psychological needs of athletic and working animals like military dogs.
Working animals, like military dogs, provide an opportunity for the college’s Animal Health and Performance Program to research and understand animal performance is a longtime and important goal of the college’s Animal Health and Performance Program, which is a leader in understanding the physical, physiological and psychological needs of athletic and other working animals like military dogs.
The program works with a number of military and government organizations to provide the best working animals – top physical condition, canine performance research and support to prepare dogs for all terrains and climates. The program strives to improve the health, well-being, and functional longevity of athletic and working animals.
One of the most visible symbols of veterinary medicine’s role is the War Dog Memorial, located in the College of Veterinary Medicine campus’s Centennial Garden where it stands in tribute to military canines.
Donated in 2005 by Betsy Putney of Woodland Hills, Calif., wife of the late Dr. William Putney, AU DVM class of 1943, the sculpture honors the 3rd Marine War Dog Platoon he commanded during World War II. Those 25 dogs and their handlers were instrumental in the liberation of the island of Guam, serving as sentries, scouts, messengers and detecting explosives, mines and booby traps. Dr. Putney later penned his experiences into a book, "Always Faithful," the same name of the sculpture.
The memorial features a Doberman Pincher named “Tam” and pays tribute to the gallant dogs that gave their lives in the effort to liberate Guam in 1944. It is an exact replica of a monument established by Dr. Putney on Guam 50 years later, in 1994. The monument was sculpted by California artist Susan Bahary.