This Memorial Day, let’s not forget our brave canine soldiers that often sacrifice their life to protect their handler and fellow two-legged soldiers. There are countless stories of these amazing dogs’ bravery on and off the battlefield. “Saving Private K9” is a show on the Sportsman Channel airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST. The show, featuring Lt. Col. Oliver North, showcases battlefield service and heroic acts of valor that military dogs perform, as told by those who fought beside them. Viewers also will learn about their heroism and gain unique insights about the training and bonding process of the dogs with their handlers – and discover what happens to the dogs’ lives post-service. In some cases, the four-legged friends are put through a rigorous rehabilitation process to overcome injuries suffered during service. Meet the 10 K9 heroes from the tv series and take a moment to thank while the hamburger cook.
#1 – Sgt. Brian Riddle and Jony (Belgian Malinois) – Marine Corps, Afghanistan
Jony, a bomb-sniffing dog, and his partner — a two-time Purple Heart recipient — were both wounded in combat while on deployment in Afghanistan.
#2 – Chief Petty Officer Benito Olson and Digo (Belgian Malinois) – Navy, Iraq
The Navy SEAL team nicknamed Digo “The Land Shark” — and this military working dog saved countless lives in combat. Severely wounded in battle, the four-legged hero came back to serve again.
#3 – Officer Tim Nading and Reno (German Shepherd) – Des Moines, IA
K9 Reno became a local legend by saving the life of his partner during a nighttime gunfight. Wounded by the gunman, Reno recovered and now has a dog park named in his honor.
#4 – Sgt. Kenneth Fischer and Drak (Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd mix) – Marine Corps, Afghanistan
A drug detection dog, Drak, sniffed out 165 pounds of the Taliban’s opium — and survived a horrific suicide-bombing attempt along with his partner, a U.S. Marine Purple Heart recipient.
#5 – Officer Brian Rodriguez & Reiko (Belgian Malinois) – West Covina, CA
At a chaotic murder scene, Reiko, a police K9, is shot in the neck — and yet still manages to overpower the suspect. After undergoing emergency surgery, Reiko was able to bounce back.
#6 – Sgt. David Varkett and Nouschka (German Shepherd) – U.S. Army, Afghanistan
Nouschka is a bomb-sniffing black lab that foiled the Taliban by identifying a cargo van carrying deadly IED explosives in Afghanistan.
#7 – Officer Mark Rand and K9 Shadow (Dutch Shepherd) – Indianapolis, IN
After being wounded by a suspected drug dealer, K9 Shadow, bleeding from his eye, snout and mouth, chases down his assailant in an epic bust.
#8 – Officer Gary Dahl and Bandit (German Shepherd) – Sacramento, CA
Bandit — rescued from a kennel — becomes a canine superhero, saving two children who were held hostage. K9 Bandit was shot during the incident, narrowly escaping death.
#9 – Marine Cpl. Jose Armenta and Zenit (German Shepherd) – Marine Corps, Afghanistan
Zenit and his U.S. Marine partner created an unbreakable bond when Armenta lost both legs in a horrific Taliban IED blast in Afghanistan.
#10 – Officer Randy Van Dusen and Bodie (German Shepherd) – Sacramento, CA
While chasing an armed suspect, K9 Bodie was shot in the face and lost a gallon of blood before life-saving surgery. After a long, painful recovery, Bodie is now a K9 “Spokesdog” — and a famous local celebrity.