During her two years of service with the U.S. Army's Special Forces Group 10, Dutch Shepherd Taba specialized in explosives detection, patrol and tracking. She was particularly skilled at locating roadside bombs and took part in many dangerous raids, saving countless lives. Now in retirement, Taba lives with a former K-9 police dog handler and his family. Although recovering from a recent surgery that required a rear leg amputation, the canine warrior was on hand to receive the American Humane Lois Pope K-9 Medal of Courage.

Taba, shown above, was one of four military dogs recognized this week in Washington, D.C., with the nation’s highest honor for canine service to the United States.

"These remarkable dogs have given us their best. They have put their own lives on the line to protect us, to defend us, and to save us," said philanthropist and veterans advocate Lois Pope.

"Working side-by-side with the men and women of our Armed Forces while putting their own lives on the line for our country, these dogs have taken loyalty to a whole new level through their service and, by doing so, have saved countless thousands of lives. Today is the perfect time to properly recognize their valiant sacrifices and contributions to our nation at the highest levels."

Here are the other medal winners.

K-9 Jag Jag now volunteers at the local volunteer fire department as a comfort dog. (Photo: American Humane)

Specialized Search Dog Jag first teamed up with Army Sergeant Dennis Dow more than a decade ago, when Jag first learned to detect explosive devices and other potential threats. The duo deployed to Afghanistan and Germany and on their very first mission, Jag found a hidden cache of deadly artillery rounds. After thousands of searches and hundreds of missions, Jag and Dow are now retired and the pair volunteer together at their local fire department, helping provide comfort in tragic situations.

K-9 Taker Taker is now retired and acts as a service dog, helping his handler manage PTSD. (Photo: American Humane)

Now 12 years old, Taker is a Labrador retriever who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with Marine Corps Sergeant Kevin Zuniga. Taker saved many lives in his job on the field as an explosives-detection dog. Now retired from military service, Taker acts as a service dog for Zuniga, helping him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

K-9 Summer Summer is retired from the military but now works for the police department. (Photo: American Humane)

Summer came under fire several times during her years of service as an explosives specialized search dog. The 7-year-old Labrador retriever served with the U.S. Marines, conducting patrols, finding weapons and roadside bombs and clearing routes. Now retired from military service, she works as a member of a Transportation Security Administration K-9 team for the Amtrak Police Department in Washington, D.C.

Mary Jo DiLonardo covers a wide range of topics focused on nature, health, science and anything that helps make the world a better place.

Brave military dogs earn K-9 Medals of Courage
Four heroic dogs received the country's top military honor for canine service to the U.S.