FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Allen Matthews is a Vietnam Veteran who served with the 42nd Scout Dog Platoon in 1969 and says if it wasn't for the dogs in combat, he would not be alive.
"We got ambushed, a small ambush. I ended up with a round hitting my steel pod, but it was some bad times. Without the dogs I wouldn't be here," Matthews explained.
Matthews, other veterans and people from the community took time to honor military dogs like his.
His dog Yanos retired from the army with one of the highest ranks a dog can get in the military.
He knows not everyone is as lucky to be alive to talk about what the bond is like.
"It's really changed my life having another war dog. The two I had in Vietnam, one got wounded in an ambush. I left one with another handler," he added.
Handlers like CPL William Crouse, a U.S. Marine who was killed in Afghanistan in the line of duty back in 2010, are also being honored.
The Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum is making sure to keep their legacy alive.
"They were out front leading the way with every mission," Board Member Eric Johnson said.
Crouses mother, Nancy Siders, said much like Matthews and his dog, Corporal Crouse and Sergeant Cain were inseparable.
"For both of them, it was important that they be together. That's important for all dog handlers. They need to work one-on-one. They feel it's their left or right arm is that dog," Siders explained.
War dogs were used as scouts for detecting land mines and identifying booby traps in combat situations.
The Veterans National Memorial Shrine and Museum said over 10,000 dogs served in the U.S military since World War I.