This morning I was reminded of how much I miss my canine companion back in Kentucky (my retired racing greyhound Benzy) when I met “Sammy”; a Special Forces Belgian Malinois work dog. Today we had training on emergency care of military work dogs from our vet Rubes, his tech and our base Special Forces master handler. Sammy is 4 years old and the jack of all trades here in Afghanistan; he’s trained for both bomb detection and subduing unlucky insurgents. When I first met him he wanted to lick everyone in the room with the playful spirit of a puppy, but once his SF handler gave the appropriate command he transformed into obedience immediately. Sammy is a soldier just like all of us, he has the rank of Staff Sargent (E6), and he works his tail off. When not training and on a mission in the hot humid environment of Afghanistan he is responsible for keeping his human teammates safe by detecting improvised explosive devices (IED), and when needed join close combat fighting. There are multiple other military dogs on our base each with different scripts to follow. The four primary roles are bomb detection, drug detection, patrolling assistance and human submission. Most military work dogs are either Belgian Malinois or German Shepard’s. Belgian Malinois are currently preferred because their more app to learn multiple roles; which increases the pups utility in a combat environment. German Shepard’s may not have the versatility but there power in human submission is second to very few other breeds; they weigh 30+ pounds more than Belgian Malinois. The training we received today was to become familiar with the basics of canine anatomy and how to perform lifesaving resuscitation for them. Surgical veterinarians are not prevalent here in Afghanistan so when a work pup is compromised we “human surgeons” assume their care. I was unaware of this prior to deploying but have no reservation about using my talents to assist them. Interestingly enough Joe J saved a work dog on his last deployment when the canine needed emergent abdominal surgery for a “gastric torsion” (twisted stomach). My priority will be the orthopedic aspects of their care with surgical stabilization of fractures being primary. I look forward to treating my new furry friends and I’m sure two individuals are excited for me; my dad (who owns a Belgian Malinois), and my canine best friend Benzy.
After our canine training Joe J, Ruben and I went to the gym. The intensity picked up today as we all realized there will be a PT test around October 1st; that means I have to start running more, something I’m not real fond of. I get excited about iron on a bar and the short bursts of intensity that follows; running unfortunately bores me. Afterwards we head back to the FST and waited for events to occur.
Trauma did not solidify throughout the hours of daylight; evening is now settling in. We remain prepared and alert.
Talk to you soon.
P.S. I miss my family and fuzzy friend Benzy.