Service Dogs Continued -- The Story of Navy SEAL Dogs

Unlike almost all my posts, I did not write this. But it was just too cool not to share.

Yes, these are not "small dogs". But they are doing what they have been carefully bred to do for generations -- to serve and protect intelligently and with incomparable canine valor.

The Dog That Cornered Osama Bin Laden... not your standard K9.

When U.S. President Barack Obama went to Fort Campbell , Kentucky ,
for a very private meeting with the commando
team that killed Osama bin Laden, only one of the 81 members of the
super-secret SEAL DevGru unit was identified by name:
Cairo, the war dog.

Cairo, like most canine members of the elite U.S. Navy SEALs, is a
Belgian Malinois. The Malinois breed is similar to German shepherds
but smaller and more compact, with an adult male weighing in the
30-kilo range.

(German shepherds are still used as war dogs by the American military
but the lighter, stubbier Malinois is considered better for the tandem
parachute jumping and rappelling operations often undertaken by
SEAL teams. Labrador retrievers are also favoured by various military
organizations as service dogs around the world.

Like their human counterparts, the dog SEALs are highly trained, highly
skilled, highly motivated special ops experts, able to perform
extraordinary military missions by
Sea, A ir and Land (thus the acronym SEAL).
The service dogs carry out a wide range of specialized duties for the military
teams to which they are attached: With a sense of smell 40 times greater
than a human's, the dogs are trained to detect and identify both explosive
material and hostile or hiding humans.

The dogs are twice as fast as a fit human, so anyone trying to escape is
not likely to outrun Cairo or his buddies.

The service dogs, equipped with video cameras, also enter certain danger zones
first, allowing their handlers to see what's ahead before humans follow.
As I mentioned before, SEAL dogs are even trained parachutists,
jumping either in tandem with their handlers or solo, if the jump is into
water. Last year canine parachute instructor Mike Forsythe and his dog
Cara set the world record for highest man-dog parachute deployment,
jumping from more than 30,100 feet up - the altitude transoceanic
passenger jets fly at. Both Forsythe and Cara were wearing oxygen
masks and skin protectors for the jump.

Here's a photo from that jump, taken by Andy Anderson for K9 Storm Inc.
(more about those folks shortly).

As well, the dogs are faithful, fearless and ferocious “incredibly
frightening" and efficient attackers.

When the SEAL DevGru team (usually known by its old designation,
Team 6) hit bin Laden's Pakistan compound on May 2, Cairo 's feet would
have been four of the first on the ground.

And like the human SEALs, Cairo was wearing super-strong, flexible body
Armour and outfitted with high-tech equipment that included "doggles" -
specially designed and fitted dog goggles with night-vision and infrared
capability that would even allow Cairo to see human heat forms through
concrete walls.

Now where on earth would anyone get that kind of incredibly niche
hi-tech doggie gear?
From Winnipeg , of all places.
Jim and Gloria Slater's Manitoba hi-tech mom-and-pop business,
K9 Storm Inc., has a deserved worldwide reputation for designing and
manufacturing probably the best body Armour available for police and
military dogs. Working dogs in 15 countries around the world are
currently protected by their K9 Storm body Armour.

Return from Service Dogs to Op Ed on Small Dogs

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Small Dog Shopping

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