About a month ago, one of the most wanted men —Osama Bin Laden— after eluding the United States for almost 10 years. Justice prevailed because of the teamwork of the U.S Navy Seals. One of those Navy Seals was a dog named Cairo.
Cairo was a Belgian Malinois who was trained as a Navy Seal. While regular military dogs are trained to sniff bombs, that is only part of what these dogs do.
How Navy Seal Dogs Are Different
In addition to bomb detection, they parachute out of airplanes with their handlers. Most of the time, it will be tandem but occasionally, the dog will jump solo. Since dogs are unable to perceive the height difference, jumping out of a plane isn't as nearly terrifying to them as it would be the average human.
They also rapell down the sides of mountains, finding enemies, swim through water, and sniff out roadside bombs (like their military counterparts) and drugs. While the dog didn't shoot Osama, he served as a distraction. With that extra time, the Seals were able to succeed. Over 600 dogs have been sent to Afghanistan and Iraq. It has been proven, that even with all the modern-day technology, a dog's sense of smell always is the most accurate method of detection.
Tools Of The Trade
The dogs are outfitted for this type of work too. K-9 Storm is a company that creates special vests for them. Part of this includes a night-vision camera which can transmit images from 1,000 yards (914 meters). Or one can say it's the length of 10 football fields. The vest also has special harness for rapelling down mountains or crawling through swamps. The Navy bought four of these vests for $86,000 USD. It's proven to be a worthy investment.
Photo: K-9 Storm
It used to be that dogs were euthanized after their tour. In 2000, President Bill Clinton passed a law for military dogs to be adopted. Now, they are more popular than ever.
Usually, there is a six-month wait. The cost is roughly $1000 to $2000 USD because dogs fly back from the country commercially. However, it's a small price to pay considering most of these dogs have had training upwards of $40,000 USD.
Normally, 300 dogs are put up for adoption. Because of the Bin Laden raid, there has been a surge of 400 applications for adoption. Since Cairo has done his job, he will be retiring from the Navy Seals. It will be interesting to see where he winds up.
Read More About It
To learn more about these talented animals, please visit these links:
Foreign Policy, War Dogs Part I
Foreign Policy, War Dogs Part II
CNN Article About K-9 Storm
Have you ever met one of these incredible dogs?
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