Military Opens $15M Dog Hospital

'Canine Walter Reed' will treat pooches wounded in combat
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2008 12:15 PM CDT
Dog handler James Stegmeyer works with Kamilka at the new Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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(Newser) – If GI Rover gets injured in Iraq, chances are he'll end up at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where the "Walter Reed of the veterinary world" has just opened. The base has long been training pups for service in all branches of the military, but its old animal hospital couldn't keep up with demand, the AP reports.

At Lackland, dogs learn to sniff for bombs or drugs and locate land mines, skills they'll later use in Iraq or Afghanistan, or at home in service with the TSA. The new hospital has operating rooms, scanning equipment, and a rehab center. "This investment made sense and somehow, we were able to convince others," says a retired colonel involved in the project.