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Special Ceremonies, Special Dogs ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

Hill Air Force Base salutes retiring military service dogs

By Michael Appelgate | The Salt Lake Tribune

Hill Air Force Base • To a chorus of barks and applause, five military working dogs were recognized for more than 40 years of combined service Friday afternoon.

Four dogs, Bandy, Allan, Liska and Arek — all German shepherds — received their formal certificates of retirement, while one, Marco, was remembered in a memorial service that included a gun salute and playing of taps. The dogs were retired because they no longer met established criteria in bomb and drug sniffing tests.

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All four retired service dogs have found homes with their previous handlers or other families.

Continue here to read about these dogs service ~ outstanding!

Arek, Allen, Liska, and Bandy – Enjoy your Retirement ~ you’ve earned it and then some.

Marco ~ rest easy now in the cool shade of a tree.

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Army retires two working dogs at Fort Benning

By Ben Wright — Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Arka, a female German shepherd, was a fixture at the annual School of the Americas Watch protests at the gates of Fort Benning. Fons, a male Belgian Malinois, served in Iraq and provided security for presidents and other high-level government officials.

But their days of sniffing for bombs, locating illegal drugs and chasing fleeing suspects came to an end Friday. Both were retired as military working dogs and adopted by two soldiers.

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Enjoy your new missions, Arka and Fons!!

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More on Lucca:

Military dog gets hero’s welcome at O’Hare

Injured bomb-sniffer passes through O’Hare on way to retirement in Finland

It’s humid and crowded at O’Hare International Airport’s Gate K9 Thursday, and you can tell passengers just want to board their flight.

Yet suddenly smiles appear on faces, applause breaks out and people make way for Marine Cpl. Juan Rodriguez and his three-legged companion.

Half-bouncing, half-limping, Belgian Malinois Lucca is a hero — one of an elite corps of military working dogs trained to sniff out ammunition, arms and explosives, and a veteran of tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Lucca’s wounds were so significant they required the amputation of her left front leg. During her time in Iraq and Afghanistan, she participated in more than 400 patrols with over 40 confirmed finds of explosives. The lives of Marines she saved can’t be counted, officials said.

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Waiting for Lucca in Helsinki will be a familiar face — Marine Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Willingham, head of security for the U.S. Embassy in Finland and a dad with two kids about to get a new best friend.

He also was Lucca’s first trainer and served in Iraq with her. “She’ll get a big surprise,” Rodriguez said.

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I love it when their first handlers get to adopt them!  Such a special bond that can never be broken.

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A woman after my own heart:

Project takes care of military’s ‘silent soldiers’

By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune


The woman with the blue star lapel pin tells me the dogs of war need help, too.

I met Deb Howard last week at the Florida National Cemetery. As a member of the Rolling Thunder Chapter 11, she was attending the reburial ceremony for Lawrence Davis Jr., a World War II vet who previously was buried in a cardboard box.

The blue star pin she wears is for her daughter, Army Reserve 1st Lt. Alexandra Gilbert. Gilbert comes from a long line of military members fighting for this country since, well, since before we were a country.

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Working with other Blue Star Mothers of America throughout the state and around the country, Howard has helped send boxes of goodies and letters to the deployed, especially those who don’t have anyone to send them things.

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For information about Howard’s efforts to send dog items to Afghanistan, email her at [email protected]

Continue here to read more about Deb and her Soldier daughter.

Bless you both, Deb and 1st Lt. Gilbert!

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Kids and dogs ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

Not your ordinary house pet

Story by Cpl. Chelsea Flowers

CLEVELAND – Emma, Claire, Lizzie and Jimmy Rubadue have a golden retriever named Holly at their house. But as they stood in the front of the crowd gathered to watch the military working dog demonstration during Marine Week Cleveland, they were full of smiles and excitement as they chatted about just what the demonstration would hold.

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As Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Pearson, a dog handler with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, led his working dog, Books, through a series of maneuvers using hand signals, whistles and voice commands, the gang was wide-eyed with just how different this type of dog was.

Books identified and retrieved items signifying improved explosive devices and other explosives in a simulated display of his discovery skills.

“We play fetch with our dog, but she never brings anything back,” said Claire, age 12.

Although in a true combat environment, Books wouldn’t retrieve explosive devices, the demonstration pin-pointed just how prepared military working dogs are to heed any command by their Marine handler.

“Our dog isn’t very good,” said Lizzie, age 9. “She eats things like shoes. She ate Claire’s shoe.

Read more and see photos here.

Another article and photo of Books here.

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A Very Difficult Moment ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

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The loss of any of the dogs who protect our Troops so bravely and willingly is a shock that ripples from some faraway combat outpost to folks back here sitting safely in their homes.  These 4-footed Soldiers and Marines mean so much to all who are connected to them and the Military and a fallen Military Working Dog hits hard.

Kevin Hanrahan has another wonderful post up about our MWDs:

Military Dog Picture of the Week. (June 5th, 2012) Guardians of the Night

The loss of a service member is already tough enough……….but when it comes to the one closest to you…your friend…your partner…. the one you depend on…that loss is unspeakable. This video is of a Military Working Dog Memorial Service taken June 1st, 2012 in Kandahar Afghanistan.  The service is for Nina (depicted below) and another MWD, Paco. If you have information on Paco please share in the comment section. I was unable to find anything.

Nina’s handler, Sergeant Wilker, writes: MWD Nina was born 16 September 2007, was assigned to the 6th Military Police Detachment Kennels at Fort Rucker, Alabama at the age of 3. As soon as she arrived she was loved by everyone. Nina showed great potential.  MWD Nina and her handler deployed to Afghanistan October 1, 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 11-12 and was attached to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF).

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See the video here.

(If you haven’t been over to his site, you’re missing out on some terrific writing and photos of our furry Heroes, so go on over there and catch up.)

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The Guardians of the Night

Author Unknown

Trust in me my friend, for I am your comrade.
I will protect you with my last breath.
When all others have left you and the loneliness of night closes in,
I will be at your side.

Together we will conquer all obstacles,
and search out those who wish to do harm to others.
All I ask of you is compassion,
and the caring touch of your hands.

It is for you that I will unselfishly give my life
and spend my nights unrested.
Although our days together may be marked by the passing of the seasons
Know that each day by your side is my reward.

My days are measured by the coming and going of your footsteps.
I anticipate them at every opening of the door.
You are the voice of caring when I am ill,
The voice of authority when I have done wrong.

Do not chastise me unduly,
for I am your right arm,
the sword at your side.
I attempt to do only what you bid of me.
I seek only to please you and remain in your favor.

Together you and I shall experience
a bond only others like us will understand.
When outsiders see us together,
their envy will be measured by their disdain.

I will quietly listen to you and pass no judgment,
nor will your spoken words be repeated.
I will remain ever silent, ever vigilant, ever loyal.

And when our time together is done
and you move on in the world,
Remember me with kind thoughts and tales.
For a time we were unbeatable,
Nothing passed among us undetected.

If we should meet again on another street
I will gladly take up your fight,
I am a Military Working Dog.

We are the guardians of the night.

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Tennis Balls and Bombs ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd, Supporting the troops

Ball Collection for Bomb Dogs Gets Big Bounce

By John Chappell

When Christine Jepson started collecting tennis balls for her son, she thought it was just for a week or so.

Patrick Wilson’s 4th Brigade Combat Team Tactical Explosive Detection Dog (TEDD) team deployed from Fort Bragg in February. The unit he commands uses specially trained dogs to search out improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other explosives.

They need two to three balls a week for each military working dog. Jepson thought if she put boxes around she could collect balls here and send them over there.

It turned out to be a bigger job than she ever dreamed.

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Even with the success so far, Jepson still needs more balls. Lots more balls. Soldiers in Wilson’s unit go through two to three balls a week for each dog. There are 125 dogs.

“So, that is well over a thousand a month,” Jepson said. “They will be there until Sept. 30, so that would be over 8,000, well over 8,000.”

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If you are interested in donating balls, you might try and contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or by email at [email protected]


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A Different Kind of Combat Vet ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: From The Front, mwd

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By MC3 Kyle Jackson
From AFN Afghanistan

Just as troops receive care in a war zone, our four legged helpers also have their own medical professionals. Veterinarians take care of our military working dogs to make sure they are fit and ready to perform their mission.

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Afghan, U.S. military keep animals healthy, families provided for in Afghanistan

After years of fighting in Afghanistan, many animal health specialists are coming back to care for the herds. Newly trained Afghan veterinarians performed their first animal vaccinations in Kunar Province.

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The Unbreakable Bond ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

Marine author explores battlefield bond with IED spotter dog

Dan Sorenson Special To The Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, March 8, 2012

Large-caliber machine gun slugs slammed into their Humvee as their 60-vehicle Marine convoy was ambushed approaching Fallujah, the bloody center of insurgence in Iraq.

Landing just yards away, the chest-pounding explosions made so much noise that Rex, a Marine MWD (military working dog), couldn’t hear the reassuring words handler Marine Cpl. Mike Dowling was yelling.

“He looked at me like, ‘Tell me what I need to be doing. I have no … idea what’s happening out there. What do I need to do?’ ” recalled Dowling, who had just finished a year and a half of intense training with the German shepherd.

“Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and his Military Working Dog” tells the story of one of the first K-9 teams deployed for front-line duty, trained to detect the improvised explosive devices that have been devastating during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Mike Dowling also has a website, K9 Pride, where there are blog posts and pages of info about dog handlers, the Fallen and adoption of retired MWDs.

He has an update on the adoption proceedings for Rex and his former handler, Megan Leavey here.  Hopefully, she and Rex will be together soon now that he is retired.

As Mike says:

He only has so much time left and he deserves to fully enjoy his final years with all the love and attention he has given to all his handlers, and the Marine Corps, throughout his life. He will have that when he is finally assigned his last duty station…Megan Leavey’s  loving home.

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About Mike:

“…I had the pleasure of being around working dogs for most of my life. Growing up my family trained Guide Dogs for the Blind, then I had the privilege and honor of being a Marine Corps military working dog handler, and finally I now work with wounded warriors and witness the incredible value Therapy Dogs contribute to their morale and welfare. Now that I am no longer a handler I miss it more than anything….”

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P.S. This blog was first created in April 2008 but went on hiatus as I was mobilized back into the Marine Corps for a couple years working with the Wounded Warrior Battalion. I had the honor of assisting our wounded, ill, and injured Marines as they recovered. I still continue to work with wounded warriors and veteran non profits/organizations now that I am no longer in the Marines and will mention them from time to time as our wounded warriors are heroes to me. Feel free to use the contact form if you have any questions or suggestions or just email [email protected] Stay involved with K9 Pride by signing up for updates, liking the K9 Pride facebook fanpage, and following us on Twitter.

K9 Pride videos

Military Working Dog Rex cooling off in Iraq

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Love Military Working Dogs?

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

I just found this article:

Stocktrek Curates Image Collection of Military Working Dogs to Showcase Essential Role of Canines in U.S. Military

>PRWEB.COM Newswire

Orlando, FL (PRWEB) March 26, 2012

Stocktrek Images announces the launch of a new gallery dedicated to the hard working military dogs of the U.S. Armed Forces. Military working dogs are the unsung heroes of the military, having been used by the armed forces since World War I. Stocktrek is pleased to have put together an unparalleled stock photo collection built specifically around these heroic canines.

Ryan Rossotto, the president of Stocktrek Images, said that, “We are excited to make this high quality photo collection of military dogs available to the public. Our four-legged friends are not often mentioned when people talk about the U.S. military, but they play an active role in our armed forces.”

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Individuals interested in this very specific niche market of photos for either personal or professional use are invited to peruse the new military working dog collection at Stocktrek Images online.

Read it all here.

My favorite is this photo.

WAR DOGS

And another ~

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Back To The Dogs ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

I love reading about Military Working Dogs and their handlers.  Of course, having an Army Vet Tech as a daughter who married a dog handler might have something to do with it.  Though, once you see these special four-footed Soldiers in action, it’s hard not to want to keep up with them.

So, let me introduce you to a few more:

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Tech. Sgt. Matthew Mosher stands with Zix, his military working dog March 1, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Military working dogs spend hours interacting with their trainers to familiarize canines with common tasks. Mosher is a military working dog handler assigned to the 354th Security Forces Squadron.

Play a little, learn a lot: MWDs, handlers learn to trust

Story by Airman 1st Class Yash Rojas

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – Few bonds compare to the one that exists between a man and a canine, and the success of military working dogs and their handlers often depends on that bond.

Military working dog handlers appreciate the importance of building a partnership with their assigned dog, knowing the sooner trust exists between the two, the more effective the team.

It is a relationship the 354th Security Forces Squadron military working dog section works tirelessly to build.

Trust may be the single most important concept in dog handling, said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Drake, 354th Security Forces military working dog trainer.

Continue…

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Injured Marine to be reunited with combat dog

An injured Marine and Purple Heart recipient has won a campaign to adopt the wounded combat dog she partnered with in Iraq.

The U.S. Air Force has agreed to release the dog, Sgt. Rex, into the care of  former Cpl. Megan Leavey, 28,  so that the two can live a civilian life together, MyFoxNY.com reports.

Leavey and Sgt. Rex were injured in 2006 while disarming an explosive IED. After Leavey was discharged in December 2007, she asked to gain custody of the 10-year-old brown German Shepherd that she calls her partner.

Leavey’s first attempt at adopting Sgt. Rex was denied, and he was returned to service after recovering from his injury.

Continue….

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Old Air Force dog taking new friend with him into retirement

By Charlie Reed

Stars and Stripes

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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Col. Otto Feather retired Friday with another old dog from the Air Force — a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois named Elra.

Decommissioned as a military working dog last year, Elra recently was adopted by the outgoing 374th Airlift Wing commander.

“She just seemed like an old pal from way back,” said Feather, who met the dog during a K-9 demonstration at Yokota in October. “We just hit it off.”

Like every working dog retired by the military, Elra was classified as “excess equipment” before she was adopted.

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A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress last month seeks to provide veterinary care for canine retirees.

“These dogs are friends, compatriots, comrades in arms, and they really deserve better,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told Politico earlier this month. He and Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., are sponsoring the bill.

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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenneth Holt, 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, practices suspect take-down bite drills with K-9 unit Ben K326 at an obstacle course for MWDs at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., March 15, 2012. All K-9 units assigned to Cannon are dual purpose patrol and detections canines responsible for protecting base personnel and resources.  (Photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)

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Also ~ I recently discovered a terrifically wonderful blog by a dog handler who is in the process of writing a novel about MWDs.  Go over and check it out!  (I’m pleased to say that that the heroine in the story is a Vet Tech. *smile*)

Kevin Hanrahan

(Kevin has) “twenty years of Army service, his experiences as a company commander in Iraq and his experience as the Deputy Provost Marshal for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  While in Afghanistan, Hanrahan was instrumental in spearheading the surge of dogs into Afghanistan and lobbied the Army to adopt an innovative and life saving explosive detecting dog program.

He has served three combat tours and was awarded two Bronze Stars and an Army Commendation Medal for Valor.  He currently resides in Poquoson, Va with his expecting wife Megan and their two dogs, Sammy and Stella.”

I’m so looking forward to reading his book, Paws On The Ground.

(Keep at it, Kevin!)

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A 4-Legged Hero You’ll Never Know ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd

A most special member of the JSOC Team who went in to help take out Osama Bin Laden has a tail as well as “dog tags”.    We probably won’t ever know his or her name but we owe this Hero a Big Thank You ~ and maybe a dog biscuit or better yet ~ steak, rare.

War News Updates has a post up with links to articles about our little known furry Warriors:

A Recognition To Our Four Legged Warriors

Go to the link below to see an amazing photo gallery of War Dogs by Rebecca Frankel of Foreign Policy:

War Dogs

(The last photo is my favorite.  And yes, that would be the Mil-Mom in me.)


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Another Doggie Tale ~

Author: yankeemom  //  Category: mwd, Uncategorized

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Lassie 2.0

Story by Cpl. Colby Brown

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — With noses to the ground and tails in the air in a combat zone, Marine bomb sniffing dogs bring yet another asset to the table in the fight against improvised explosive devices.

These canine Marines are enlisted into the Corps for the purpose of attaching to a platoon and clearing an area of IED threats before a patrol passes through. For 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, having these military working dogs increases their confidence in the ability to deter the IED threat while on patrols during their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

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“I love it, it’s a risky job for us — definitely for her — but it’s a privilege and makes me proud.”

Go here to read the rest and see photos.

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