Archive for January, 2009

Airmen, Soldiers team up to keep working dog in the fight

Posted in air force teams, police dog teams, Working Dog News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2009 by wardogmarine

by Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/15/2009 – SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — Dental Airmen teamed up with Army veterinarians to give an Air Force working dog a root canal and get her back into the fight Jan. 15 at an air base in Southwest Asia. 

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Airmen, Soldiers team up to keep working dog in the fight
Military working dog Kitti awaits her root canal at the feet of her handler, Senior Airman Adam Belward Jan. 15 at an air base in Southwest Asia. Kitti’s operation required the collaboration of both an Air Force dentist and an Army veterinarian. Airman Belward is assigned to the 822nd Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Courtney Richardson) 

Airmen of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group and Soldiers from the 218th Medical Detachment to work on 5-year-old Belgian melinois Kitti who broke her tooth while trying to chew her way out of her kennel during the flight from Ramstein Air Base, Germany. 

“She doesn’t like to be left alone,” said Senior Airman Adam Belward, Kitti’s handler from the 822nd Security Forces Squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. 

“She was very stressed out in her kennel and tried to chew her way out,” said the native of Norwalk, Conn. 

Army veterinarians in charge of providing medical care for military working dogs didn’t have all the necessary equipment to treat Kitti. The solution was a collaborative effort with the 386th EMDG’s dental team, who had an X-ray machine and an experienced dentist. The veterinarians had the anesthesia and experience with dogs. 

“(The veterinarian) has talents I don’t have, and I have talents she doesn’t have, so we both need each other,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mark Henderson, a 386th EMDG dentist. “It was definitely a teamwork concept.” 

With Kitti and Airman Belward due in Afghanistan in a week, the options were limited. They could either perform the root canal at the air base in Southwest Asia, send the dog to be treated at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, or pull the tooth altogether. 

Airman Belward said he was apprehensive about the procedure. 

“I was nervous about it,” he said. “It’s one of her key things for protecting herself, for protecting me.” 

Army Capt. (Dr.) Elizabeth Williams of the 218th MD said the procedure had a 95 percent success rate. 

“I have a good staff with a good anesthesia technician, a good, healthy dog and a strong source of experience,” she said. “We can do it here, invest a little time here and send her on her way.” 

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Airmen, Soldiers team up to keep working dog in the fight
Lt. Col. (Dr.) Mark Henderson drills a hole in the tooth of Air Force military working dog Kitti to perform a root canal with the assistance of Army Capt. (Dr.) Elizabeth Williams Jan. 15 at an air base in Southwest Asia. Dr. Henderson is a 386th Expeditionary Medical Group dentist. Captain Williams is a 218th Medical Detachment veterinarian. The 386th EMDG and the 218th staffs had to combine their resources and experience for the dog’s operation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Courtney Richardson)

Sending the dog back to Lackland AFB would take a week, and the vets were reluctant to pull the tooth because doing so weakens the jaw. Dog teeth are more deeply rooted and pulling a tooth requires pulling a bit of bone as well, Captain Williams said. 

“Patrol dogs need to be able to bite people and keep them from running away,” she said. “It’s not a mission ender. It’s like when someone has four fingers on their hand instead of five, and there’s never been a study that says being bitten with three teeth hurts less than being bitten with four.” 

“Three holes in someone is pretty bad,” Airman Belward agreed. “But four is ideal.” 

Complicating the procedure was the need for an X-ray. Senior Airman Dedric Bullock, a 386th EMDG radiologist technician, never imagined having to take X-rays of an attack dog. He said there were advantages and disadvantages to working with a dog. 

“The factors are a dog’s snout. It’s in a good aspect,” he said. “If it was in the back, there’d be no way we can do this.” 

Staff Sgt. Heather Gaffney, the 386th EMDG dental NCO in charge who is deployed from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, said each patient is different, particularly the nonhuman ones. 

“Every patient has its own challenges,” she said. “Obviously a sedated dog is going to be completely different. It’s interesting. We never get to do this kind of stuff.” 

After a four-hour procedure, Kitti was in the clear with two silver fillings in her canine. 

“She’s ready to go out and win the war on terrorism,” Airman Belward said. 

Dr. Henderson said that aside from lacking a tool neither he nor Dr. Williams possessed and having to work through it, the procedure went according to the plan. 

“I said next time we should do one that’s tooth is broken even worse,” he said after the procedure. 

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Airmen, Soldiers team up to keep working dog in the fight
Army Pfc. Roderick Aldrich assists Army Capt. (Dr.) Elizabeth Williams with the intubation of Air Force military working dog Kitti before her root canal Jan. 15 at an air base in Southwest Asia. Private Aldrich and Dr. Williams are assigned to the 218th Medical Detachment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Courtney Richardson)

The native of Texas City, Texas, said the procedure was important because keeping working dogs in the fight is vital to the war effort. 

“Military working dogs are a unique, nonhuman, person-type weapons system,” Dr. Henderson said. “It’s an awesome weapon system I fully appreciate, and we have to have their capabilities in theater.” 

Dr. Williams agreed, adding that’s why she’s here in the fight. 

“It’s always good to get the dogs back on their feet, chasing bad guys and sniffing out bombs, and that’s what we do here,” she said.

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Bonds with K-9 co-workers hard to break

Posted in Marine dog teams, military working dog handlers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2009 by wardogmarine

 

By Cindy Fisher, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Tuesday, January 6, 2009

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All four paws have left the ground, but military working dog Rexo maintains his grip on Lance Cpl. Arnold Apel’s arm during aggression training at the Marine K-9 kennel on Kadena Air Base. Apel, 19, is a military working dog handler from Milmay, N.J.

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — When Cpl. Kate Stanford arrived on Okinawa five months ago, she was assigned to Meister, a 5-year-old military working dog.

She immediately began building a bond with him.

“He kind of looked like, ‘Who are you? Where is my daddy?’ ” Stanford, 21, from Hubbard, Ohio, recalled of their first meeting at the Marine Provost Marshal’s Office K-9 kennel on Kadena Air Base.

Fortunately, the German shepherd is carefree, and it’s been “easy to build rapport with him,” she said. It also helped that his last handler was still on Okinawa and talked with her about Meister’s personality and quirks — such as a penchant for nipping at his handler’s ankles.

But it’s not always so easy for dogs when they change handlers or their handler goes on leave. Some even sink into depression.

kadena2Rexo, a military working dog, lays quietly at Lance Cpl. Ariel Soto’s feet after a training session. Even when these military working dogs are at rest, people should not come up and try to pat them as the dogs could misinterpret this as an attack on their handlers, dog handlers advise.

All the new handler can do, Stanford said, is train and play with the dog. It’s time well spent because it creates trust in their own as well as their dog’s capabilities, she said.

That bonding time is especially important at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, where all airmen serve one-year, unaccompanied tours.

Because of the high turnover at the Spartan, remote location on Korea’s west coast, military dog handlers have to find new ways to bond with their charges in a shorter time, according to an American Forces Network news report.

In the AFN report, dog handler Staff Sgt. Charles Eubanks explained the process they use to build that bond.

“We’ll go through what we call the rapport week, where there’s no commands. You just go out and walk the dogs, play fetch with them, just kind of build that relationship and that bond between the dog and the handler,” he said.

From there, Eubanks said, handlers will work on basic obedience and patrol and detection before actually going to work.

The dog handlers say the key issue is trust.

The dogs are used primarily in explosives and narcotics detection but also undergo aggression training to learn to pursue and subdue suspects.

Handlers literally trust their lives on their dogs’ noses, particularly with explosive detection dogs, Stanford said.

“That leash is only six feet. If he decides to step on [a bomb], you’re in trouble,” she said.

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Cpl. Kate Stanford, 21, from Hubbard, Ohio, plays with Meister at the Marine K-9 kennel on Kadena Air Base Wednesday. Stanford has only been Meister’s handler for about five months, but already they have developed a pretty good bond, Stanford said.

It’s not easy working with new dogs. Each has its own personality, and what works with one dog might not work with another dog, she said.

But most military dogs have had multiple handlers and know what is happening when they get a new one, she added.

Just like a child, a dog will test a new handler to see what it can get away with, Stanford said.

Sometimes, dog and handler just don’t click. When that happens, the dog is reassigned.

“You don’t try to force the relationship on the dog,” Stanford said.

She was assigned a second dog, Darra, about two months ago, and it’s been a little harder to build that relationship, she said.

Darra had deployed to Iraq with her previous handler. That created a tight bond between Darra and that handler, which means Stanford will have to work harder with her.

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Lance Cpl. Chase Paustian, 24, from Aurora, Ill., takes a few moments to rub Waldo’s stomach after a training session at the Marine K-9 kennel. Paustian and Waldo recently returned from a seven-month deployment together to Anbar province, Iraq. Being there together only tightened their bond, Paustian said.

Lance Cpl. Chase Paustian, 24, from Aurora, Ill., knows about the closer ties developed during a deployment. He and his dog, Waldo, recently returned to Okinawa from seven months in Anbar province, Iraq.

Waldo, a Belgian Malinois, “is a great dog” to work with, he said.

“He’ll work until he just can’t move anymore. He’s always just a happy dog all the time,” Paustian said.

In Iraq, the two went everywhere together except the chow hall, Paustian said. The exchange, haircuts, watching movies in the lounge; Waldo even slept with him.

Waldo also gets jealous if Paustian talks to other dogs, staring out of his kennel as if his handler were cheating on him, Paustian said with a smile.

“It was hard to come back and not be together all the time,” he said.

He has tried to ease Waldo back into kennel life by spending as much time with him as possible during the day, he said.

But it will be “really hard” on both of them when Paustian is transferred to a new duty station.

“It’s going to be like your kid going to college,” he said. “It’s going to be tough.”

Stars and Stripes’ T.D. Flack contributed to this report.

k5Rexo, a military working dog, lays quietly at Lance Cpl. Ariel Soto’s feet after a training session. Even when these military working dogs are at rest, people should not come up and try to pat them as the dogs could misinterpret this as an attack on their handlers, dog handlers advise.

Kaneohe Marine Base K9 Unit

Posted in Marine dog teams, various k9 videos with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

Great video here about the Marine Corps k9 unit at the Kaneohe Marine Base.

 

Kunsan Air Base K9 VIDEO

Posted in various k9 videos, Various Teams with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

War dog joins Fox Lake American Legion

Posted in Military stories, Military Working Dogs, retired dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

 

By Bob Susnjara-Daily Herald Staff

Fox Lake’s American Legion Post has a new member with four legs, a bite of about 1,200 pounds of pressure per square inch and a willingness to eat meat on a floor.

Dexter became the first military working dog to receive a membership card for American Legion Post 703 at a ceremony Wednesday. Post 703 Cmdr. Jerry Kandziorski said national Legion officials indicated it may well have been a first in the United States.

“He was a tried and true veteran,” Kandziorski said. “He took his time in service and performed his duty. We think he deserves the recognition that should come to anybody.”

Dexter is a Navy veteran who served in Iraq with his handler, Petty Officer 1st Class Kathleen Ellison. One of the 10-year-old German shepherd’s heroic actions occurred in July 2004, when he detected explosives on the gas tank of a garbage truck that would have targeted a mess hall for U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

About 75 guests watched Dexter’s membership ceremony at the Fox Lake American Legion hall, which was complete with an honor guard and invocation by Post 703 chaplain Bill Gordon.

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Iraq war veteran Dexter gets a huge bone at American Legion Post 703 in Fox Lake, where he received a membership card at a ceremony Wednesday.

Legion members came bearing gifts for Dexter as well. The canine was a little cool toward a giant bone with a “Welcome Home Dexter” note on it, but he went to town on a 2-pound steak he removed from a platter and ate on the floor.

Ellison, 45, an upstate New York native, said she was in Afghanistan when she recently received word her former partner was in jeopardy of being euthanized in Naples, Italy, because of deteriorating health.

“I said, ‘Well, that is not going to happen. I’ll be there in about three weeks to get him,’ ” said Ellison, who worked with Dexter until May 2005.

Ellison found the Save-a-Vet organization in Lindenhurst, which found Dexter’s new home in Spring Grove. Launched by disabled veteran Danny Scheurer of Round Lake, the group rescues unwanted military and law-enforcement working dogs.

Scheurer said Dexter will live on a property with other retired military and law-enforcement canines where constant care is provided. He said the operation’s owner prefers to be anonymous.

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Retired war dog Dexter is escorted Wednesday into the Fox Lake American Legion Post 703 hall by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kathleen Ellison. Dexter became an American Legion member.

Using rest and relaxation time, Ellison left Afghanistan on Christmas Day and picked up Dexter in Naples on Monday. The pair landed Tuesday night in Milwaukee before the war dog’s big day in Fox Lake.

Ellison said she hopes to visit Dexter after her service in Afghanistan ends in about a year. She said she knows he’ll be in good hands at his new home in Spring Grove.

“You hope and pray that there’s going to be a happy ending,” Ellison said. “And there absolutely was. I can’t ask for anything more.”

PHOTOS: K-9 Team makes ‘scents’ for Raider Brigade Soldiers

Posted in Army Dog teams, military working dog handlers, Military Working Dogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

By Sgt. David Hodge

1st BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Sgt. Craig Walker, military dog handler, and Belgian Malanois, Carla, a military working dog, part of the Falcon K-9 Team, attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. Walker, a native of Kelso, Wash., is part of the 40th Military Police Detachment, out of Fort Sill, Okla., deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad’s Rashid district. The Falcon K-9 Team joined Soldiers from the 1st “Raider” Brigade and Iraqi Security Forces during a combined cordon and search operation to find weapons and explosives in Rashid’s Abu T’shir community.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – A military working dog named Carla, a Belgian Malanois trained to sniff out weapons and explosives, digs into a scent inside an abandoned house in the Abu T’shir community of the Rashid district in southern Baghdad. Sgt. Craig Walker, a military dog handler from Kelso, Wash., part of the 40th Military Police Detachment out of Fort Sill, Okla., leads Carla during combined operations with Iraqi Security Forces and Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, to search for any signs of activity. The 40th MP Det. is attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., Multi-National Division – Baghdad in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Sgt. Craig Walker, military dog handler from Kelso, Wash., part of the K-9 Team, assigned to the 40th Military Police Detachment, attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, leads his partner, a Belgian Malanois dog named Carla, through an abandoned house during combined operations in the Abu T’shir community in the Rashid district.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Sgt. James Bowhay, a cavalry scout from San Angelo, Texas, assigned to Troop C, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, helps military working dog, Carla, a Belgian Malanois, part of the Falcon K-9 Team, over a wall and into the hands of her owner, Sgt. Craig Walker, a dog handler, from Kelso, Wash., during a combined cordon and search operation in Abu T’shir. Capt. Sean Tennimon, a native of Mobile, Ala. and commander of Troop C, 7th Sqdn., 10th Cav., helped Walker, who is part of the K-9 Team assigned to the 40th Military Police Detachment, out of Fort Sill, Okla., attached to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B. The K-9 Team supports the 1st “Raider” Brigade deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon, located in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad.

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FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq – Military working dog, Carla, a Belgian Malanois, sniffs out a scent while looking for explosives and weapons in the Abu T’shir community with her partner Sgt. Craig Walker, a dog handler assigned to the 40th Military Police Battalion, out of Fort Sill, Okla. Walker, a native of Kelso, Wash., is part of the Falcon K-9 Team, assigned to the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, deployed to Forward Operating Base Falcon in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. Carla and Walker assist Soldiers of the 1st “Raider” BCT during combined operations to provide security for the Iraqi people.

Top award for brave army dog

Posted in Foreign Dog Teams with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by wardogmarine

 

th1_21200933hn-war-dog-07-01-09
Fairy Tail of New York – Sgt David Heyhoe, of New York, and of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, after his Black Labrador, Treo, won a national award for their life-saving work fighting the Taliban.
Published Date: 02 January 2009
5pm, Friday – A BRAVE black Labrador and his handler have won a coveted national award for their life-saving work in Afghanistan.
Treo, a seven-year-old Labrador, and his handler Sgt David Heyhoe, 40, of New York, have been honoured for their job of finding hidden Taliban bombs in the war torn country.

He was named Best Armed Forces Animal in The Sun newspaper’s Military Awards – or Millies – after receiving 93 separate nominations – more than any other member of the Armed Forces…whether on two legs or four.

Sgt Heyhoe told The News what made this canine so special.

“He’s a dog that is thorough. He enjoys what he does, he enjoys his work, and everything is done for the love of his Dad. He wants to please. He’s got a fantastic nose that I had to rely on while I was out there.

“If it was not for Treo, I certainly would not have come home, and neither would have a lot of other soldiers.”

Treo and Sgt Heyhoe, who are members of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, finished a six month tour in Afghanistan in September, working in the Sangin – known as the ‘Badlands’ by troops.

Treo was responsible for sniffing out hidden explosives, after which bomb disposal units would be brought in to make the passage safe for the soldiers.

Among his most high profile finds, said Sgt Heyhoe, was the discovery of a ‘collapsing circuit Daisy Chain’ – a device designed to trigger a series of detonations when bomb disposal units attempt to defuse just one of the explosives.

It is a device that had not been used by the Taliban since the 1970s, he said.

“I am extremely proud of this dog,” he said, who was one of around 20 such dogs on the frontline. “But, in turn, I’m proud of every working dog out there and their handlers. Without them, Afghanistan would have been a lot worse during our tour.”

And in a star-studded bash at London’s Hampton Court Palace, Treo and Sgt Heyhoe landed the gong.

With Prince Charles and his wife Camilla present at the do, and with TV’s Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and Kirsty Gallagher on Sgt Heyhoe’s table alone, it was a glitzy affair.

But the most important guest for Sgt Heyhoe was his colleague of three years, Treo, who to his surprise, had been released from quarantine especially for the ceremony.

“It was absolutely fantastic having my boy on stage with me to accept the award he had won,” said David, who lives with his wife Tarnia Venning-Heyhoe, 27. “I am not a father, but with Treo I felt like a father. It was probably one of the proudest moments of my life.”

see full article here: Top award for brave army dog