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Early sketch by DKNG Studios


Military Dogs Forever Commemorative stamps recognize canine heroes By Ruksana Hussain



heroes received muchdeserved recognition this year. The United States Postal Service (USPS) honored America’s military working dogs with commemorative Forever stamps featuring four breeds that commonly serve in the U.S. armed forces: Belgian Malinois, Dutch shepherd, German shepherd and Labrador retriever.

The booklets feature blocks of four stamps with stylized geometric illustrations in a patriotic red, white and blue color scheme. “There has been positive feedback to the fact that we honored military working dogs,” said William Gicker, acting director of Stamp Services, USPS. “I’ve been at the Postal Service now for 20 years, and we’ve been getting letters in support of this subject the whole time. The buying public definitely likes animal stamps, and we always felt that these dogs played an

important role so they certainly were well deserving of a stamp.” The stamps were released in August and will be available for a year. The first-day-of-issue event was celebrated with a special ceremony at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show in Omaha, Neb. “My military working dogs were my protectors and daily partners,” said Deana Stone, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 20 years and handled military working dogs for 12. “They were by my

side as we supported stateside and overseas bases and while I supported missions with U.S. Customs (and Border Protection) and the Secret Service. I am thrilled that USPS is honoring their contribution.” USPS receives about 30,000 requests for stamp designs annually. Postal services staff and the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee review themes and make recommendations to the postmaster general. This year, the committee recommended military working dogs, and Postal Service Art Director Greg Breeding sketched the concept for the stamps. “I’m glad to see the military working dogs getting the recognition they deserve,” added U.S. Army veteran David Laboy Jr., who lives in Brown Deer, Wis. “During my time overseas, I had the privilege of working alongside a military working dog named Darka. Her courage and sense of duty could not be matched by anything else except a soldier’s. These dogs are determined to complete their mission at any cost.” Gicker shared that artists across the country are considered for stamp illustrations. In this case, San Franciscobased DKNG Studios was selected. “As dog lovers, being able to illustrate some of our favorite animals, while also paying tribute to military working dogs was a special experience,” said Nathan Goldman, founder and creative director at DKNG Studios, which brought Breeding’s sketches to reality. “The opportunity to work on a postage stamp design for USPS is a huge honor for any designer, regardless of the subject matter, but this project was especially meaningful to us.”

Military working dog stamps can be purchased at and Postal Service branches across the country.

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