Honouring our military working dogs units
It’s hard to imagine a dog in a warzone and it’s probably something you’ve never considered, but their special skills and heightened senses make them the perfect partners for soldiers carrying out certain tasks that humans cannot.
They can protect and aid our forces like the loyal best friends we know them as at home.
So, as we remember our soldiers this Remembrance Day, it’s worth a thought for the working dogs of the military for their amazing work that helps our troops.
The army has five military working dog squadrons in the regiment, made up of 284 soldiers and around 200 dogs. The soldiers of 104 Working Dog Regiment returned home from Afghanistan last month, after a seven-month tour.
The regiment consists of highly trained army dogs and their handlers. The dogs carry out tasks including base patrol to protect British soldiers, searching vehicles, and patrolling the front line. They play a key role in the detection of explosives (IEDs).
Veterinary officers are on hand to maintain the health and well-being of the dogs in the regiment with annual health checks and routine care.
Search and protect
Their role in Afghanistan is to contribute to the protection of bases with the dogs searching for things that can cause harm.
Major Ian Razell from the dog unit said:
“The explosives and weapons that our dogs found have made Helmand a safer place for our troops and the Afghan people.”
Corporal Tamara King worked as a ‘Trainer-Maintainer’ in the regiment. She worked with the dogs to keep their search skills sharp enough as they came back into the camp.
Understandably, like humans they take a bit of time to adapt to the different conditions in Afghanistan.
She said: “The dogs have found some significant caches of arms and explosives and it’s great to know that I’ve helped train the dogs that made Helmand a safer place.”
Man’s best friend
The work that they do is built on great relationships between the dogs and their handlers. They build uniquely close relationships which they maintain while in barracks and when out on operations. A handler and their dog could be working together as a pair for a few weeks or even up to a few months.
Army dog handlers find it a rewarding role, with the satisfaction that the dog they train or handle might make a big contribution to military operations but it can also be a challenging role as soldiers must first train as a soldier, and then complete training for dog operations.
They also need to take care of their dog as well as themselves, looking out for health problems they might have.
The dogs need to be trained to the extent where they can respond to the body language and commands of their handler while off a lead, and can sniff out arms and explosives with their keen sense of smell.
One thing is for sure army dog’s work to protect our soldiers and country so for that we are extremely thankful.