War Dogs & Veloci-Chickens in Afghanistan

One blog I do not fail to check is Michael Yon’s Online Magazine in which he covers the lives and cares and work of the US And British Military in, for example, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is deeply involved. His photos are incredible.

I thought some of you might hike to Yon’s place for his post about

War Dogs & Veloci-Chickens in Afghanistan

The Afghan Veloci-Chicken is at the same time amusing and creepy.

BTW… for the liturgical musicians out there, I wrote to Mr. Yon to find out if he is related to the former organist at St. Patrick’s in New York, Pietro Yon, who also wrote Church music.  He said he wasn’t, as far as he knew.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    A very well behaved war dog. They do live the life of Reilly.

    My Psycho Ruby would be twitching and straining to hold “sit”, locked on the velocirooster with her ears flying off her head . . . “Mom! Look! A chicken! A live chicken! Can I have it? Can I? Can I? oh Please Please Please?” Her backside pretty much stays glued to the ground, though — or at least hovering. My Princess Shelley would yawn and keep an eye on it. I’m not sure what little puppy Katy would do. But any one of them would ruin that chicken’s day if I gave them leave by saying her name.

  2. chironomo says:

    The Veloci-Roosters look a lot like the Turkey Buzzards we have in abundance down here, although with small wings. Judging by the size of their legs and the length of their claws, I am guessing these things use their feet to fight with. What a bizarre creation…

  3. ghp95134 says:

    On a more touching (and serious) note, see his photo at http://www.michaelyon-online.com/images/stories/080811menatwar/2011-08-07-123011-1000.jpg

    Now, after viewing the above photo, please tell me why some bishops and priests cannot understand that kneeling is a greater show of respect? The soldiers to a man stand and salute … but when they approach the symbol of their departed brother-in-arms …. what position did they assume?


  4. irishgirl says:

    I always get teary-eyed reading about dogs who serve in war alongside their handler-masters-they are just as brave as their ‘humans’!
    Remember that there was one dog casualty on 9/11-his name was Sirius, and he was a NY Port Authority police dog. He and his handler were at the World Trade Center when the planes hit. The officer went upstairs to find out what was happening, but didn’t take the dog with him. He got out and lived, but Sirius, remaining in his cage/crate in the office underground, died. My heart was broken when I saw the interview with the officer afterwards.
    I can’t help it-I’m a dog lover!

  5. Random Friar says:

    “Welcome home, soldier! Say… what’s that Purple Heart for?”
    (mumbling) “Veloci-chicken attack…”

    I’m not shocked. Anyone who’s grown on a farm can tell ya — chickens are mean little suckers. If there’s a group of them, they can even take food away from animals (such as dogs) in a kind of pincer movement, where one group distracts, and then the other group rushes in.

    And there’s a reason there’s something called a “pecking order” in our lexicon. In the chicken world, being on the bottom of the pecking order means… you become food for the others after you get pecked to death. Just be very glad you’re much bigger than the chicken.

  6. TNP says:

    Ah, Pietro Yon. Isn’t he the guy who wrote Gesu Bambino?

  7. Gulielmus says:

    As a choir boy in the years during and just after the Second Vatican Council, I sang several mass settings by Pietro Yon, some snatches of which I can still hum. I don’t think they’d pass muster nowadays– they were pretty operatic and florid, with frequent solos for tenor and baritone. (I assume Mr. Yon knew better than to write solos for the boy sopranos and altos!) But I think they were fairly typical of the period’s music in a parish that took it seriously. I can find no evidence of them ever having been recorded.

  8. irishgirl says:

    I went back to read the ‘dog and chicken’ stories-had all I could do to keep from both laughing and crying here in the library!
    I love stuff like this-God and St. Francis bless the ‘war dogs’ and their handlers!
    Never knew that chickens could ‘pop’ their feathers! That must have sounded pretty scary! I’m surprised the soldiers didn’t blow that chicken away and leave just a pile of feathers!
    I know that a dog was with the Navy SEALS team that killed Bin Laden-every time I hear anything said about SEALS Team Six, I have to yell, ‘And don’t forget the dog!’

  9. Sandy says:

    Oh my goodness, those pictures so touch my heart! The military is in my blood (I’m a military daughter, wife, and mother) and I love to see these stories and pictures. I was on a flight a few months ago in the second row of the aircraft, and the first row was occupied by a military dog and his handler. What a trooper! He was perfectly behaved.

    May God bless our troops, keep them miraculously safe, and bring them home soon!

  10. AnAmericanMother says:


    Sirius was a yellow Lab, like my little girl Katy.
    Here’s the program and photos from the memorial service in his honor:
    They weren’t ashamed to have a priest in attendance.

    The war dogs look to be Belgian Malinois. I understand they’re gaining preference over German Shepherds as a smaller, more agile, and sharper dog. There are some field type Labs among the explosive detection dogs, though — quite a different breed from the typical heavyset conformation type. But even the field type Labs generally won’t “bite a biscuit” as they say. Absolutely no use as a fighting dog!

  11. irishgirl says:

    Thank you for the link of Sirius’ memorial service. I still cry when I read stories about him.
    He was carried out from Ground Zero the same way as the human rescuers were-I didn’t know that was done for him.
    And the Brits posthumously awarded him the Victoria Cross? How cool is that! I didn’t know it was done for ‘war dogs’.
    But you’re right-the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd are better breeds for military dogs. They are not hesitant to go after the bad guys—Labs, on the other hand, would either lick them to death or just look at them, tails wagging!

  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    I have one Lab who is my Alpha female, who makes value judgments about people and occasionally makes her opinion known.
    I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t hesitate to go for a bad guy. She once put on a very impressive display when a stray dog started following us on a walk and approached in a threatening manner. She immediately placed herself between us, ready to sell her life dearly — hackles all the way up, head down, lip lifted to show her lovely fangs, and a snarl that started way down in her belly somewhere. The stray dog decided that he had urgent business somewhere far, far away.
    Not bad for a 38 pound Chocolate Lab who is ordinarily the sweetest little thing ever to beg a dog treat from a total stranger . . . .
    Now my middle dog is nicknamed “Psycho Ruby” for a reason —
    But she is actually a complete and total wuss . . . except when it concerns birds such as Mallards, and Canadas, and probably Velociroosters.

  13. irishgirl says:

    Oh my goodness! Your dog’s name fits the picture, AmericanMother!
    In our neighborhood many years ago (in the years before the leash law) one of my neighbors had a border collie which was ‘dumped’, pregnant, on his doorstep. My family got to know her when she used to come to our house-never came in, though; she always stayed in our garage looking up at our kitchen door. She always got her fill of bread and milk-courtesy of my mother-so we called her ‘Mooch’ (her ‘owner’ called her ‘Pooch’).
    My mother, twin sister and I always took a walk after dinner in the evening, and usually ‘Mooch’ would join us. One time, though, I went out by myself, and she came with me. Along the way a medium-sized dog came near me. But ‘Mooch’ put herself between me and this other dog: she got it on the ground, grabbed one of its rear legs, and held on till the one on the ground yelped for mercy!

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    What a sweet story! Mooch appreciated your family’s kindness and felt it her duty to protect you. Border Collies are great protectors (they are also outstanding agility dogs — my little Lab ran in the same height class and they blew her doors off, so to speak.)
    Rescue dogs seem to know that they have been rescued — they are almost always very grateful and loving. My youngest Lab is what I call a “semi-rescue” – she was in no danger and was not being ill treated, but she was the last of a litter that didn’t sell and wasn’t doing anything but hanging around the dog yard. She is my most loving and affectionate dog, a real love bug.
    It’s not fair even to Psycho Ruby to leave you with that picture (she had just been released after a “steady drill” and was frantic to get to the duck, which was flapping and quacking and carrying on). Here she is in a more reflective moment:

  15. irishgirl says:

    Oh my goodness-that picture of your Psycho Ruby is hysterical! Look at all that shredded Kleenex!
    Yes, Border Collies are great agility dogs. While away on a little vacation in the Catskills of NY (pre-Tropical Storm Irene) I was watching a program called ‘Incredible Dog Competition’ on Animal Planet (I think). It was from San Diego, CA and it had things such as disc-chasing, dogs on surf boards, Jack Russell terrier racing (now THAT was hysterical!) and agility. There were a couple of Border Collies who were in that last event. Wow-they were like black-and-white blurs going around that course! Are they ever fast!
    And yes, I miss ‘our Mooch’-she died in 1987 after suffering from mange. I was away on my first trip to England when it happened and found out when I got home that she was put to sleep. I took a picture of a Border Collie when visiting Hampton Court Palace, and when I put it in the album I made of the trip, I captioned it, ‘In memory of our dearly departed “Mooch”.’ She was such a good dog-and a smart one, too!

  16. irishgirl says:

    And may I add: when ‘Mooch’ had her puppies (under a trailer which her owner had at the time), my mother, my sister and I were invited to come over and see them just days after they were born. And she trusted us so much, she let us handle and pick them up!
    Then when the puppies were able to move around, she brought the whole litter with her when she came over to our house (this was in the pre-leash-law years of the mid-to-late Seventies!). It was so funny, seeing this tail-wagging crew in our yard! In time, as they grew, she would get pretty ticked off when they would attempt to nurse–those sharp little baby teeth hurt! And she’d let them know it did by growling and grabbing at their back legs-that must be a Border trait!

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