(WASHINGTON) -- Four canines were given the top-dog treatment Tuesday on Capitol Hill as they received the nation's highest honor for their service and sacrifice to the U.S.
Matty, a Czech German Shepherd; Fieldy, a black Labrador retriever; Bond, a Belgian Malinois; and Isky, a German Shepherd, were awarded the inaugural American Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage. The awards were created under the American Humane Association.
"Soldiers have been relying on these four-footed comrades-in-arms since the beginning of organized warfare and today military dogs are more important than ever in keeping our service men and women safe," said Robin Ganzert, the American Humane Association's president and CEO.
The group said that all four heroic hounds had been to Afghanistan.
Matty helped find hidden improvised explosive devices and is credited with saving the life of his handler and the lives of his unit more than once.
Fieldy saved lives by tracking down explosives and served four combat tours in Afghanistan.
Bond worked more than 50 combat missions and was deployed to Afghanistan three times.
And after years of guarding leaders as well as the military, Isky now works as a service dog after being struck and injured by IEDs.
His handler, Army Sgt. Wess Brown, was also injured in the field. Brown said Tuesday that Isky was helping him away from the battlefield.
"He saved me," Brown said of Isky. "He brought a lot of people home and he brought me home. ... He's my dog for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) now and I feel I help him out a lot. ... Even though we do get on each others' nerves sometimes."
Brown said that Isky was his buddy.
"I feel safe with him every time we go anywhere," Brown said. "That's why he's around."
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