LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Not long after a Belgian Malinois named Cora went off to war, she earned a reputation for sniffing out the buried bombs that were the enemy’s weapon of choice to kill or maim U.S. troops.
Cora could roam a hundred yards or more off her leash, detect an explosive and then lie down gently to signal danger. All she asked in return was a kind word or a biscuit, maybe a play session with a chew toy once the squad made it back to base.
The work that Lackland is doing in helping to recognize, diagnose , and work up treatments in these dogs is really amazing. As an Army Veterinarian who has been in the middle east for a few years you get to see some of these responses and talk to the handlers who work with these dogs day in and day out. The basics of handling stress in humans can be translated across and behaviorists are teaching us how to deal with these issues as close to the front and as quickly as possible. Just like in humans the faster that we recognize the problem and start intervening the better the responses and the better results we have.
The Army Veterinary Corps is a true watchdog for our canine Soldiers and every year we see more and more recognition and acknowledgement for what they do and what it costs them. As a Corps we are proud to be working with them. Some of what we see and do is heartbreaking but some of it is also the most uplififting tales in the world.