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The real dogs of war: Intimate images show ‘soft’ soldiers caring for the animals who have helped them through the ages


Soldier's best friend: A member of the Irish Guards with an Irish wolfhound in 1987. The handsome breed has been the regiment's mascot since 1902

From the American Civil War to modern day Afghanistan, these heartwarming pictures reveal the enduring bond between soldiers and their dogs over the centuries.
Many of the images capture cherished pets providing fleeting moments of respite for battle-weary troops during times of war.
They show a common theme across the globe, with soldiers from the UK and U.S. to Russia and China all pictured with faithful dogs in tow.

Faithful companion: A U.S. soldier is seen cradling his platoon's pet dog Rocky inside an armored vehicle on patrol in Mosul, Iraq, in 2005

One picture shows famous Second World War officer General George Patton playing with his favourite bull terrier, while others show Allied troops accompanied by pet dogs while on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The use of dogs in warfare dates back to ancient times.
As well as providing soldiers with affection and companionship while far from home, dogs have also been trained to act as scouts, sentries and trackers to aid their masters in battle.

Afghanistan: Sgt John Barton of the 4th Brigade of the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division pets the platoon's dog Ray-Ray in Bala Murghab in June 2010

Standing guard: A dog appears to keep watch as an exhausted U.S. Marine sleeps in a sandy hollow on Peleliu in the Palau Islands in October 1944

Patriotic: Two soldiers from the 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment pose with a bulldog during a march through Dudley in 2009

First World War: A captain and his pet dog lead members of the Royal Berkshire Regiment in France in 1914

Kabul: Private Stuart Briggs, a British International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reserve soldier, pets a sleepy dog while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2002

Through the ages: U.S. Marines are seen with pet dog Fluffy on the bank of the Han River in South Korea in September 1950

Heart warming: A U.S. soldier from Alfa Company 1-18 Infantry pats a dog while on duty at a guard shack in Balad, Iraq, in July 2003

The real dogs of war: General George Patton plays with his bull terrier Willie in 1944

There in a crisis: Soldiers accompanied by a pet dog carry an injured woman following an earthquake in Beichuan County in China's Sichuan province in May 2008

Part of the picture: A black and white dog is visible in the corner of this photograph of Russian soldiers

Days gone by: Federal soldiers pose with their pet dogs outside a supply tent in the U.S. in the 1860s

Prized pets: American soldiers are seen holding their pet dogs in 1918

source: dailymail