Our four-legged soldiers honoured
A day for man’s best friend
Sandra Moerland Jacob used to joke that the dogs would never complain no matter what.
THE Australian Defence Force has celebrated MilitaryWorking Dog Day this week, to recognise the role service dogs play in the armed forces.
Mother of the late Sapper Jacob Moerland said her son spoke about service dogs fondly and always welcomed their presence.
“He thought that they were a valuable asset,” Mrs Moerland said.
Jacob Moerland was killed by a roadside explosive six years ago on Tuesday, with his brother-in-arms Darren Smith and Darren’s service dog Herbie.
“It is the six year anniversary of their death today (Tuesday) and I think it’s a good day to choose to commemorate service dogs,” Mrs Moerland said.
“The dogs are like other soldiers to the boys and have their own service number and they would always be there for the boys after a hard day.”
Mrs Moerland said the companionship the dogs offered went a long way for the soldiers.
“When the boys have had a gutful of the day the dog would always be there and everyone would give it a pat, they are morale boosters over there for some of the boys.”
Mrs Moerland was in Canberra last year when the War Dogs Memorial was unveiled.
“Darren’s dad was there also; they are fantastic animals, I’ve got footage of Darren carrying that dog across a flooded stream,” Mrs Moerland said.
“Jacob used to joke that the dogs would never complain no matter what.”
“They worked really well with Herbie.”
Mrs Moerland said losing a service dog in action still hit soldiers hard despite what people may have thought.
“They didn’t just lose two soldiers the day that Jacob and Darren were killed,” Mrs Moerland said.
“They lost three soldiers that day with Herbie.”
NEVER FORGOTTEN: Sapper Jacob Moerland was killed by a roadside explosive, along with service dog Herbie.