When you think of military awards, you likely envision a medal hanging from the uniform of a soldier. However,bravery and service aren't limited to human beings. Many overseas units are equipped with Military Working Dogs who protect the strong men and women who are sent abroad. These canine companions search for explosives, provide emotional support and endure battle with members of the American military.

Top honors.

Four of thesedaring pups were given the top honors for valor during a ceremony at Capitol Hill with the InauguralAmerican Humane Lois Pope LIFE K-9 Medal of Courage. This is the highest honor for military dogs in response to their years of service and bravery.

"It is important to recognize and honor the remarkable accomplishments and valor of these courageous canines," Rep. Gus Bilirakis, co-chair of the Congressional Humane Bond Caucus, the hosting organization, said in a press release.

"By helping locate enemy positions, engage the enemy, and sniff out deadly IEDs and hidden weapons, military dogs have saved countless lives in the fight for freedom."

Three-legged military dog continues serving in new ways.

Isky the German Shepherd stood guard for four-star Generals and other military personnel throughout his career as a Working Military Dog. He even joined the President of the United States on a trip to Berlin.

He stood by his handler, U.S. Army Sgt. Wess Brown, through countless missions as he searched for IEDs. One day, Isky detected a 120-pound bomb that exploded before he could run away. His leg was injured in several places and the blast caused irreparable damage. Isky’s leg was amputated and he had to retire from active duty, but he now serves as Sgt. Brown’s PTSD support dog.

Black Lab honored for IED detection.

Labradors are knownas loving family dogs, but there’s more to this active breed than cuddling and playing fetch.

Contract Working Dog Fieldy served four compact tours in Afghanistan, including seven months with U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Nick Caceres. Fiedly searched for explosive devices on the battlefield and supplied emotional support when action momentarily slowed. After his four tours, Fieldy was honorably discharged from the military and was eventually reunited with Cpl. Careces, thanks to American Humane.

Retired military dog Matty's story.

Matty the Czech German Shepherd didn’t let gun fire stop him from finding IEDs during battle. He worked side-by-side with Retired Army Specialist Brent Grommet in Afghanistan. The bomb-detection team was hit with both bombs and grenades during battles together and ultimately returned to the U.S. with injuries. Although Matty was adopted by someone while Grommet was recovering from neurosurgery, the American Humane helped them find each other. These days, Matty provides emotional support for his battle buddy.

Military Working Dog Bond ready for his handler's return.

The Belgian Malinois named Bond was deployed three times and took part in more than 50 combat missions. He served as a Multi-Purpose Dog in his Special Operations Unit, where he acquired some lasting combat trauma. His handler is still in active duty, but Bond has been adopted and will be reconnected with his best friend when he returns to civilian life soon.

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