"We told K9 Russel he could keep one thing, and he chose the sweater," tweeted NYPD News, in regards to "Operation War Dogs" December 4, 2019 (Twitter/NYPD News)

The crime-fighting dogs of the NYPD offered a helping paw to their canine counterparts serving overseas this holiday season — collecting doggie supplies and treats for Yuletide care packages.

The NYPD's ESU K9 Unit helped gather about 30 boxes of medical supplies, toys, shampoos, nail clippers and thank-you letters from school children over the past several days as part of "Operation War Dogs." The nearly $6,000 in supplies will be shipped out to Afghanistan over the weekend.

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Congressman Ron Wright (R-TX-6) introduced H.R. 5081, the K-9 Hero Act, Thursday.

This legislation creates a grant program to assist nonprofits that take in retired working dogs or provide financial assistance to owners of retired working dogs. Specifically, the grants will help cover medical costs, such as veterinarian office visits, medical procedures, diagnostic tests, and medications.

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Military Working Dog, Saber, and his former handler, Marine Corps Sgt. Rosendo Madrigal at Camp Pendleton, 2016. Photo: Sgt. Madrigal

Today is National K-9 Veterans Day, and if you didn't know, it's truly my honor to be the one to tell you.

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U.S. Army/Abigail Waldrop

Though war dogs served with distinction in World War I, and in countless campaigns and conflicts before that — delivering messages, comforting frontline troops, and biting enemy soldiers on the ass — on March 13, 1942 the U.S. Army began training dogs to serve in the newly created War Dog Program, referred to as the K-9 Corps. The War Dog Program marked the beginning of modern military working dogs as we know them.

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U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Julia A. Casper

Dogs have been a staple of military life for ages, but in recent years, military working dogs have captured the attention of countless Americans, and for good reason. There’s Cairo, the Belgian Malinois that accompanied SEAL Team 6 on the infamous May 2011 Osama bin Laden raid. And of course, there are the countless other military working dogs who supported their handlers in Iraq and Afghanistan and continue to “pull security” on military bases across the globe.

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