Members of the Armed Forces who are in war zones often adopt stray dogs as companions to substitute for the family members and friends they miss overseas. This collection shows pictures of these canine pals going back as far as the Vietnam War.

Dogs of War
In March 2010 in the Lashkar Gah, Helmand province of Afghanistan, a dog sniffed out a hidden bomb device that would have killed two U.S. front line guards. The soldiers named him ‘Alan the Vallon’ and kept him around for sniffing out IEDs. But in a fight with the Taliban, Alan got left behind because strays are not allowed on military vehicles. Two months later, a village Elder said that a dog was being held for ransom at a Taliban base because he was able to sniff out hidden bombs and was therefore worth a lot. When the base was taken by U.S. soldiers, they found that same familiar dog; he had broken ribs but was still alive. Captain Mark Townend renamed him ‘Brin’ because of the color of his coat.

Dogs of War
Sergeant Russell applies a forceful embrace to two stray dogs, days before the end of his 16-month tour of duty to Afghanistan.

Dogs of War
A picture of a German Shepherd named Drak. He is an Afghanistan bomb detector, who, along with then 27-year-old Sergeant Kenneth Fischer, survived a suicide bombing that killed seven people.

Dogs of War
Stray dogs, photo taken in Dubrovnik, Croatia during the Balkan War in 1991.

Dog 5
Stray dogs, photo taken in Pleiku, Vietnam during the Vietnam War in 1971.

– Jeff Reese
Sources: Brin Baldwin, Peter Vanagtmael, Spartan Cast Productions, Flickr, Flickr Balkan War