Sunday, 13 March 2016

RIP Buster: The sniffer dog 'who saved a thousand lives'

As an Arms and Explosive Search Dog, Buster is said to have saved "a thousand lives" in warzones around the world.

The springer spaniel has passed away at his handler's home in Lincolnshire, says the RAF.

Before retiring to live with Flight Sergeant Will Barrow, the 13-year-old dog had served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq - sniffing out bombs and booby traps before they could kill British service personnel.

As well as giving advanced warning of suicide bombers and hidden IEDs (improvised explosive devices), Buster also helped cheer up the troops, says his handler.

"Many's the time I'd find some of the soldiers on the cot beds with him, just chatting away. They felt they could confide in him and it wouldn't be going anywhere else."

He also made friends with local Afghans when he went out on patrol.
"We soon had a long train of children in tow - like a canine Pied Piper, Buster drew in his crowd and entertained them," says Flt Sgt Barrow.
A military dog.

To reward his years of hard work, Buster was given the honour of becoming the official lifetime mascot of the RAF Police.

Towards the end of his life Buster had quite bad arthritis in his legs, and Flt Sgt Barrow thinks the dog might also have suffered the same mental strains as human combat veterans. He suspects Buster could even have had a form of post traumatic stress from all his time spent under enemy fire.

In retirement Buster didn't "like fireworks or thunder, but at the time, he just got on with it, same as all of us".

"He saved my life every day we were together. I owe him so much."

Source; BBC Newsbeat

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Story of Sargent Stubby

Sargent Stubby was the Pit Bull hero of World War I. He enlisted in the most unlikely of circumstances, wandering onto Yale University Field (which was being used at the time for military training)as a stray. His stocky looks and good nature made him the perfect mascot. When the soldiers were deploying, they had a quandary. Most of them would be traveling via mass transit and they couldn’t sneak a dog on with them. That’s when they discovered that Corporal J. Conroy would be traveling in a supply car. At first he was resistant to the idea, but after meeting the endearing canine, he couldn’t refuse. Somehow the soldiers managed to smuggle Stubby over to Europe (he wasn’t a trained military dog), and there his heroic career began. He managed to alert soldiers to gas attacks in time for them to get their gas masks on, he captured a German spy and even saved a girl from an oncoming car! Stubby almost perished from poison gas as well as a grenade attack, but the scrappy Pit Bull pulled through. After 18 months in Europe Stubby returned home with Corporal Conroy. When he attended Georgetown University Law School, Stubby became the unofficial Hoya mascot. Stubby died in 1926. His body is kept by the Smithsonian museum

Source: Dog Reflection

Lucca The Military Dog

Each dog that has served in military divisions around the world are to be applauded for unselfish devotion but there is one in particular that has recently made headlines around the globe. Lucca, a half German shepherd and Belgian Malinois breed joined the United States Marine Corps in 2006 and has been hailed as a true hero.
At just two years of age, she completed extensive training to become a top search dog that would be used for a variety of military operations specific to open areas, roads, vehicles, and buildings in the effort to find ammunition, weapons, and explosives. For her first five years of service, Lucca worked with her initial handler, Gunnery Sergeant Willingham but was then handed off to one of Willingham’s teams working in Afghanistan, Corporal Juan Rodriguez.
Prior to March 2013, Lucca had already provided exemplary service during two Iraq tours of duty in 2007 and 2008 and one Afghanistan tour in 2011. Over that period, this service dog led more than 400 patrols, discovered countless explosive devices, and was directly involved with the apprehension of four insurgents later determined to be Improvised Explosive Device or IED manufacturers that supported numerous terrorist cells in the region.
Lucca’s final mission occurred on March 23, 2013 while out on patrol with her handler Rodriguez and several other Marines. Walking ahead, she indicated the presence of an IED. After being safely detonated, she continued her search for secondary explosives at which time a device went off causing severe burns to her chest and severely injuring her front left leg. Although in horrible condition and extreme pain, her first response was to run to her handler in an attempt to protect him as well as other Marines on the mission.
Immediately, a tourniquet was applied and proper first aid administered. Lucca was then airlifted to the unit’s medical center where she was stabilized before being flown back to Germany and then onto Camp Pendleton. There, she underwent surgery to have her injured leg amputated and completed special physical rehabilitation. To no surprise of her handler or the other Marines whose lives she had saved, Lucca made a miraculous recovery.
Lucca has since turned eight and now resides with her first handler Willingham and his family while enjoy a life of pampering and gratitude. Throughout her service with the United States military, this amazing service dog found over 40 explosive devices and in doing so saved the lives of many men and women working the frontlines. Lucca is more than a brave soldier – she is a miracle dog that while serving with the United States Marine Corps in the ongoing battle against terrorism has won the hearts of millions of people.

Source: NJ Pet Community

Sunday, 29 November 2015


Russia has shown its solidarity with the people of France in an unusual way - by donating a new puppy to carry on the memory of Diesel, the police dog killed by a suicide bomber on Wednesday.

The little puppy, called Dobrynia, has been sent to Paris by the Russian government to help 'in the fight against terrorism'.

It will be trained up to continue to vital work that Diesel, a seven-year-old Belgian shepherd, was doing before she was killed in the raid on the apartment block in Saint-Denis, where Paris massacre mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud was hiding out.

Diesel, a member of the SWAT team, was sent into the building to sniff out booby traps ahead of her human colleagues - and was caught up in the explosion after the first suicide bomber blew themselves up.

The force said that 'assault and explosives' search dogs are indispensable to the work of the French anti-terror unit known as RAID. 

Diesel's death at the hands of the terrorist sparked an outpouring of sympathy from around the world - and it seems even Vladimir Putin was touched by the tale.

He ordered the tiny puppy to be sent to France, to eventually join the team of officers who had so cherished Diesel.

And for extra luck, the puppy has been given the name of one of Russia's most legendary heroes - a man who personified 'strength, love, courage and self-sacrifice'.

Dobrynya was Vladimir the Great's maternal uncle and tutor, later transformed in Russian folklore into the invincible bogatyr (hero-knight) Dobrynya Nikitich.
The Russian Interior Ministry, which shared pictures of Dobrynia on the social network site, has written to France explaining the gift.

In the letter, Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said: 'I ask you to accept from Russian's police dog handlers this shepherd puppy, who will be able to take his place in the ranks of Diesel, your dog who died doing his duty.'

Source: The Daily Mail


A Russian defence company has released a new design of body armour to keep terror-sniffing police dogs safe in the wake of the death of French police dog Diesel, who died during a police raid in Paris following the Friday 13th terror attacks.

In a new video Russian dog handler demonstrated the new design in a new video showing off the transformation from man's best friend to professionally protected police hound.

'At first, of course, the dog did not like the vest. Then gradually she realised that it was for her own good and protection,' Vladimir Khitrykh said.

'We taught her with the help of incentives. We can put the armoured vest on the dog in just one minute,' he said.

The armour has reportedly been designed by St. Petersburg-based Scientific Production Association of Special Materials (NPO), which was formed during the days of the Soviet Union as a specialist armoured materials laboratory.

The so-called 'Nord body armour' consists of two parts, protecting both the neck and chest of the brave pooch and additional armour is also available for the legs and head if required.

Mr Khitrykh said: 'We had been working together for six months. First, we trained for about two months, and then when the dog got used to me, we started to work together. We worked on The Race of Heroes. About a hundred cars went through our patrol. We were looking for explosives and engineering ammunition'.

Source: The Daily Mail

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Smoky, The WW2 K9 Hero

A Yorkshire Terrier who saw action in the Pacific during World War II, Smoky was initially found in February 1944, abandoned in a foxhole in the jungles of New Guinea. The dog was included in a dozen combat missions and survived more than 150 air raids. Like famous World War I veteran Stubby, Smoky used her sharp sense of hearing to warn of incoming artillery shells. One of Smoky’s most famous exploits was at a crucial airstrip in the Philippine Island of Luzon. The dog pulled a telegraph wire through a narrow 70-foot pipe, saving construction time and keeping workers and engineers safe from enemy fire. When not in harm’s way, Smoky entertained troops with a variety of tricks and self-taught antics. The dog died on February 21, 1957; she was 14 years old. Smoky’s exploits are chronicled in detail in the book Yorkie Doodle Dandy, written by her adoptive owner William A. Wynne