I came across this photo on the German Shepherd Dog Community, a group I belong to on Facebook. At first I was creeped out by the doggy funeral, or whatever you want to call it. Then I read the story that accompanied it. I'll summarize. These were working dogs in the war zone. The poster, Michael Hoffman, estimated that bomb sniffing dogs in the military save an average of 3-5 lives a day, alerting soldiers about IEDs and stuff before they explode. It's dangerous work, and doesn't always work out for the dogs.
It reminded me of when I started my TV career in Guam, and told the story of an old Marine who came back to Guam to put flowers on his working dog's grave. Guam, if you don't know, is a US Territory. It's the only American soil occupied by a foreign invader in modern history. The Marines basically came in, and saved the Chamorro people (now Americans) from the Japanese. The old vet took me up on Nimitz Hill, pointed down to Apra Harbor, and told the story of how his German Shepherd sniffed out a sniper lurking in the bushes. Were it not for the dog, my friend would have been a dead man. The dog took the bullet. Fifty years later, the Marine--who also happened to be a veteranarian--returned to Guam to honor the dog who saved his life.
That is loyalty, that is honor, and that is why I have a German Shepherd now.