Congress approves new services for military working dogs.
They were tacked on as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013.
It's been approved by both the House and Senate and now needs the President's signature.
It all started with a dog right here in Texas, but his owner says this battle is only half won.
Lisa Phillips and Sergeant Rambo both served in the military, but while Lisa gets VA benefits in her retirement, Rambo doesn't.
"It is most definitely not fair in any sense. These dogs are injured, these dogs come back with K9 PTSD," said Lisa, who worked as Veterinary Technician while in the Army.
The reason dogs like Rambo don't get health benefits or medals of merit is that the military classifies them as equipment, not as service members.
"These dogs are serving side-by-side with our human soldiers, and they deserve the same benefits that they fight for," said Lisa.
So now she is speaking up for those can't talk for themselves.
She helped write the Canine Service Members of the Armed Forces Act.
It would re-classify working dogs as Canine Service Members, provide non-profit veterinary care when they retire, allow for them to be decorated, and for donated frequent flier miles to help transport them for adoption.
"This bill simply recognizes the service and sacrifice these military working dogs perform, detecting bombs, keeping our troops safe, and making sure that they come home safely," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, who wrote a senate bill to accompany a sister bill written by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
Now Congress is enacting only parts of the bill.
The military can now help transport dogs from overseas or elsewhere to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio for adoption, and it will offer their new owners guidance for vet care.
Lisa said, "This was a huge disappointment, but at the same time, it was a huge stepping stone, and now we have our foot in the door."
About 300 dogs, like Rambo, retire every year, and Lisa says she won't stop fighting to make sure they get the recognition and the benefits they deserve.
"It just makes this drive so much more important and so much stronger," she said.
It's all because her hero doesn't wear a cape. He wears a dog tag.
Reporter: Sophia Stamas email@example.com
Photographer: Chris Buford firstname.lastname@example.org