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June 8, 2011

The ultimate sidekick

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

We all love our pups…They sleep in our beds, ride in our cars, eat our table scraps, kiss us on the face…But could you imagine your furry friend being dressed in a bullet proof vest armed with a night vision camera or parachuting (with an oxygen mask) from 30K feet?  There are over 2800 dogs in the military being trained to do just this.

 

To watch a video on these amazing animals that help take Binladen down, visit Anderson Cooper 360.

 

Check out the K9 Storm, the company that outfits these canines with their special equipment.

The story from the Foreign Policy Website:

Dogs have been fighting alongside U.S. soldiers for more than 100 years, seeing combat in the Civil War and World War I. But their service was informal; only in 1942 were canines officially inducted into the U.S. Army. Today, they’re a central part of U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan — as of early 2010 the U.S. Army had 2,800 active-duty dogs deployed (the largest canine contingent in the world). And these numbers will continue to grow as these dogs become an ever-more-vital military asset.

The scent of war: According to Mike Dowling, a former Marine Corps dog handler who served in Iraq, there’s a simple explanation for why the Navy SEALs took a dog along on the Osama raid: “A dog’s brain is dominated by olfactory senses.” In fact, Dowling says, a dog can have up to 225 million olfactory receptors in their nose — the part of their brain devoted to scent is 40 times greater than that of a human.

“When you’re going on a mission,” Dowling says, “a raid or a patrol, insurgents are sneaky — they like to hide stuff from you. But a dog can smell them. …. [Think about] Saddam Hussein … what if Osama had been [hiding] in a hole in the ground? A dog could find that. A dog could alert them to where he’s hiding because of the incredible scent capabilities. … You can only see what you can see. You can’t see what you don’t see. A dog can see it through his nose.”

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