A common theme that we like to emphasize in these posts is the benefit that detection canines bring to their teams, and these often go beyond the professional capabilities of our furry friends! As we research topics and stories, we consistently come across law enforcement officers, members of the armed forces, and first responders who bring up the positive effect on mood that detection canines bring to their teams. It is already remarkable that trained canines can accomplish so much in very diverse settings, but the intangible improvement to morale that these pups bring is truly incredible. This week, we will discuss military detection canines and some accounts from soldiers who have working experience with these dogs.
Some canines that perform a particularly important role are explosive detection dogs serving in the armed forces. According to Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Citrullo, his dog Uran “definitely saved not only my life but multiple other service members’ lives by finding IEDs and other things that were just ready to go off and hurt someone.” He continued his praise of detection canines, saying that soldiers feel better having them around as they know the dogs will help keep them safe.
The bond that the handlers forge with their partnered pups is very powerful, similar to what we experience with our four-legged friends at home. Army Spc. Joseph Ramos and his dog Fox have a close relationship to the point that Fox experiences separation anxiety. According to Ramos, “I have to check on him periodically, even through a long weekend, just to make sure he’s eating.” The military takes the relationships between canines and their handlers very seriously, and soldiers do their best to adjust how they operate to best fit their dogs’ preferences. Sgt. Kristin Vanderzanden describes how she now avoids bringing grenades into combat because her dog, Frenky, is toy-driven: “I knew if I threw anything, he would be running after it.”
The fact that members of the armed forces will make these decisions in such a high-stakes environment underlines the powerful bond between handlers and their canine partners. What we find most remarkable about dogs is their ability to bond with almost anyone in nearly every situation, and they accomplish this while also performing truly impressive services with explosive detection teams, narcotics detection teams, and many other specialized forces within law enforcement and the military.
Once again, we would like to emphasize that our thoughts are with those currently affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We wish everyone dealing with this right now well and hope for a speedy recovery for all who are sick.