A while back, I heard from Mike Lemish, a fellow Golden lover as you can see, pictured here with his guy Sedona. Mike is the official Historian for the Vietnam Dog Handler Association (VDHA).
The VDHA was organized in 1993 by a group of six veteran war dog handlers that served during the Vietnam Conflict. One of their original goals was to never give up the search to re-unite veteran war dog handlers and honor the memory of their war dog partners. As a result, the group has grown from six to almost 3000 members.
Mike is the author of the seminal war dog book, “War Dogs: A History of Loyalty and Heroism“. This book was originally published in 1996 and tells the history of the U.S. K-9 Corps. Now in paperback, War Dogs provides an eye-opening look at unsung canine heroes from World War I to the present. Terriers, shepherds, beagles, collies, huskies, and Dobermans are only a few of the breeds that have pulled sleds, searched caves and bunkers, and even parachuted into combat. Mike has collected true stories and rare photos that reflect the strong bonds that have formed between war dogs and their masters as they worked together in dangerous situations.
Mike is finishing up my second book with the working title “Forever Forward: K-9 Operations in Vietnam 1960-1972“. This is not just about Vietnam but also tells about the continuing effort to educate the public about military working dogs so that they receive proper recognition. Although not a military dog handler, he is proud to be part of the group that persuaded the government to enact a law to allow citizens to adopt retired military dogs (not done since the close of WWII).
I told Mike about my foundation’s cancer treatment grant for working dogs and he sent in an article to DOGMAN, a bimonthly publication by the Vietnam Dog Handler Association, Inc. Well, an article appears in their April 2008 issue. Check us out (on page 3).